“Fast-Pitch Love” by Clay Cormany is a book that normally, I would never pick up. The author contacted me and offered a copy for review and, as a lover of books, of course said I would read it. I was sent an eBook version, and so I read the book in bits and pieces on my iPhone during my commute if I didn’t have a physical book with me. (Despite the craze and the convenience, I still prefer a physical book to an eBook any day). “Fast-Pitch Love” is a young adult novel that revolves around a 17-year-old named Jace who volunteers to help coach a softball team with his mother. He does this because he is under the impression that the other assistant coach is the girl he has been crushing on. His plan is to get close to Stephanie by working with her. However, his plan goes awry when it turns out the initials he saw did not belong to Stephanie, but to her sister Sylvia. At the request of his mom, and with the hope that Sylvia will be the key to getting Stephanie’s attention, Jace stays on to help coach softball.
There were several different things that struck me as I read “Fast-Pitch Love”. The first was the softball talk. I’m not a big sports person, so this probably is more about me than the book, but I found there to be a lot of technical language and more than once there was a play-by-play report of what was happening in the softball games. I found this to be a little dull. At the same time, I’m not sure if the author could really have cut much of it out because it was relevant to the story. It’s a toss-up. I’m pretty sure if I was a fan of softball and understood the game on a better level that I may have appreciated the play-by-play and been able to really see in my mind what was happening. As it was, I didn’t love that. One thing that I did really enjoy was how Cormany portrayed the sibling interactions between Jace and his younger sister. “He slumped in the chair by his desk and considered an age-old question: Where did little sisters belong on the list of extremely annoying things? Were they worse than tooth extractions, jock itch, and algebra tests? Absolutely. The misery they caused lasted so much longer.” (Fast-Pitch Love, loc 122). I thought this was amusing and I certainly can relate to the challenges of not being an only child.
What I also really enjoyed about this book was the way that Jace grew as a character. He starts out as a high school boy – focused on nothing greater than a girl he is crushing on. Throughout the book though, Jace comes up against various challenges and he rises up to them. He gains a better understanding of things beyond those that directly affect him. He learns that there is more to softball and more to love. “Each softball game was like a person’s life. It had a beginning and an end, highs and lows, as well as characteristics that set it apart from other softball games.” (Fast-Pitch Love, loc 2778). I really liked this quote and I think it portrays some of the wisdom that Jace develops further into the novel.
Would I recommend this book? Yes, not to everyone, but yes. I enjoyed it much more than I was anticipating. I’m glad that I pushed through the beginning where there was an awful lot of talk about softball. The language was a bit overly technical for me as a non-sports-fan, but there were a lot of other factors that drove the plot along and kept things interesting. Just when I felt like things were getting a little predictable, there was a change of pace or a surprising turn of event. I would pick up this author’s work again.