For twelve year old Jake Evans, life without baseball is out of the question. This season, his team has a legitimate shot at going all the way to Williamsport. And at the first practice, Jake finds out he's a top contender for the traveling team playing in a tournament in Japan at the end of the summer. But when he finds out he might be benched for the season because he's failing Language Arts, he panics. He'll do anything do play.
Lucky for Jake, his teacher offers him an extra credit assignment to help him bring up his grade. Lucky, that is, until Jake finds out what it is. Advance to the school spelling bee. The problem is, Jake can't spell. He's struggled with school his whole life. In last year's classroom spelling bee, he couldn't even spell tulip right. A mistake the school bully, Kyle Filbert, still teases him about.
As Jake struggles to learn to spell words he can't even pronounce, he realizes he may not touch the mound this season, much less travel to Williamsport or Japan. So, Jake enlists the help of his best friend, and sixth grade know-it-all, Brit to help him study. Because if he doesn't hunker down and learn to spell, he'll never escape Kyle's bullying, he may not move to the next grade, and he could lose his one and only shot at little league stardom.
Harrison Templeton has a big fat head. Thankfully I sit right behind him. When I slouch, Mrs. Cooper, my seventh-period Language Arts Teacher, can't see a single hair on my entirely proportionally-sized head.
My right knee taps in time with each second - thirty minutes to go. I've been waiting for-freaking-ever for the first day of baseball practice. This year we might go all the way to the Little League World Series.
"Can anyone tell me from what point of view the Red Badge of Courage is written?" Mrs. Cooper asks, pacing in front of the white board wielding a dry erase marker like a bayonet.
Ugh. I'd rather eat moldy broccoli than read this book.
They should let us read something cool, like The Boy Who Saved Baseball or The Wild Pitch. Heck, I kind of even likedHoles. All this talk of themes and symbolism makes me want to poke my eye out with my number two pencil.
I duck out of her line of sight. She's going to call on someone to read out loud soon.
“Jake?” Hearing my name shouted shakes me out of my thoughts.
“What?” My voice comes out high, like a girl. I push myself upright and shrug my shoulders.
Next to me, Kyle Filbert snickers, his black hair flopping forward and covering one of his eyes like a pirate's eye patch. I shoot my arch-enemy a dirty look and ball my hand up into a tight fist under my desk. Sometimes I really want to punch the jerk in the face.