Originally published in hardcover in 2016 by Viking.
Jeremiah is the world's biggest baseball fan. He really loves baseball and he knows just about everything there is to know about his favorite sport. So when he's told he can't play baseball following an operation on his heart, Jeremiah decides he'll do the next best thing and become a coach.
Hillcrest, where Jeremiah and his father Walt have just moved, is a town known for its championship baseball team. But Jeremiah finds the town caught up in a scandal and about ready to give up on baseball. It's up to Jeremiah and his can-do spirit to get the town - and the team - back in the game.
Full of humor, heart, and baseball lore, Soar is Joan Bauer at her best.
Praise for Soar
Joan Bauer is the criticallyacclaimed author of numerous young adult novels, including "Best Foot Forward," "Rules of the Road" (recipient of the "Los Angeles Times" Book Prize) and Newbery Honor-winner Hope Was Here. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Praise for Soar * "Jeremiah's voice is perfect: plucky, vulnerable, pragmatic, smart, and immensely endearing. Bauer masterfully manages the various plotlines. . . An outstanding, tender exploration of courage and the true nature of heroism and, for good measure, a fine homage to America's game, as well." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Sports, friendship, tragedy, and a love connection are all wrapped up in one heartwarming, page-turning story. . . This coming-of-age tale features a boy who is courageous and witty; readers--baseball fans or otherwise--will cheer on Jeremiah and this team. The latest middle grade novel from this award-winning author is triumphant and moving." --School Library Journal
"Jeremiah's enthusiasm for baseball is infectious, and he plays a major role in rebuilding and coaching a team at the middle school while lifting the sagging spirits of community members. . . Readers will feel that Jeremiah's victories are well earned and deserved." --Publishers Weekly
"This is not the predictable baseball-as-metaphor-for-life offering it seems but rather a character study in resilience and a tender evocation of a father-son relationship. 'Tender, ' however, is not code for 'slow' or 'dull'; Jeremiah is a wry and witty narrator, and his take-charge (but sensible) approach to life impels the story along at a brisk clip." --BCCB
Praise for Joan Bauer's Tell Me
"Bauer establishes a multi-faceted plot combining crime drama with a modern coming of age story. Anna's voice rings clear through first-person narration, allowing readers to sing, cry, and smell the flowers along with the protagonist. Short chapters and smart dialogue keep the pace moving. Ultimately, Bauer twists the widespread divorce issue into a lesson on empathy, inviting readers to keep their minds and eyes alert to worlds other than their own." --School Library Journal
"In this novel filled with comedy and drama. . . Bauer skillfully weaves subplots together as Rosemont citizens (and Anna's parents) rise to the challenge of solving the mystery." --Publishers Weekly
"There are numerous, valuable messages for readers here: pay attention, trust your instincts, and speak up; sometimes being brave is about small, uncertain steps that we take; and helping others helps us, too. Humor and hope are balanced throughout, making this a good recommendation for those who prefer a serious topic treated with a less heavy hand and a happy ending." --VOYA
"Bauer manages the difficult feat of folding the topic of human trafficking into a middle-grade novel about daily-life family and peer struggles; in fact, Anna's conviction that the missing girl matters is part and parcel of her character throughout, as she similarly commits whole-heartedly to her acting efforts and beloved friends. . . Readers will appreciate the story for Bauer's classic and relatable heroine who pursues her goal through adversity." --BCCB
"Bauer has done an exceptional job of informing young readers about human trafficking without being heavy-handed or speaking down to her audience." --LMC
Close to Famous Winner of the ALA Schneider Family Book Award, Christopher Award, Judy Lopez Memorial Prize, An Amazon Top Ten Middle Grade Book, a YALSA/ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults pick; Hope Was Here Newbery Honor Book, Christopher Award, ALA Notable Book; Rules of the Road Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Golden Kite Award, ALA Notable Book, Best Book for Young Adults.
Also by Joan Bauer Title Page Copyright Dedication Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20 Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23 Chapter 24 Chapter 25 Chapter 26 Chapter 27 Chapter 28 Chapter 29 Chapter 30 Chapter 31 Chapter 32 Chapter 33 Chapter 34 Chapter 35 Chapter 36 Chapter 37 Chapter 38 Chapter 39 Chapter 40 Chapter 41 Chapter 42 Chapter 43 Epilogue Acknowledgments Chapter 1 I''M PROBABLY TWELVE years old; that''s what the doctors think. I could have been born anywhere, but it was most likely in Indianapolis, Indiana--at least that''s where I''ve decided I was born, because that''s where I was found. Specifically, I was found at Computer Partners Ltd. in the snack room, right by the coffeepot. I think it''s one of the reasons that I like the taste of coffee--it reminds me of home. I was found by Walt Lopper, a computer geek who had never so much as diapered a baby, but there I was, and I''m told it was clear that I did need a new diaper. I needed a lot of other things, too, but my bottle wasn''t empty, so the police felt that meant I hadn''t been there long. Walt found me at seven a.m. on October third--it was his turn to make coffee and he always got to work early. I was in my baby chair with a note: pleez tek car of him Bcaz he my best boy I no yur good! There weren''t any other clues about who left me there, but I''m inclined to believe it was my mother, who might have worked nights cleaning office buildings. I had a little stuffed eagle that I was gnawing on, but other than that it was your usual thing. Walt called the police and they came and took me to the station and then someone from child services came and took me to a safe place, although Computer Partners Ltd. was a safe place, real safe, otherwise my mother wouldn''t have left me there. I''m told I didn''t cry, I just watched people and took things in, but if you wanted to see what I was made of, try taking the stuffed eagle from my little hands. I''d yank it back and screech, "No!" They think I was nine months old when I was found, so saying "no" is a pretty big deal. Walt says it indicates I had a big brain, possibly like Einstein. Walt has a big brain. He''s officially a computer genius, but even bigger than his brain is his heart, which he says he hadn''t paid that much attention to until I came along. The police tried to find the person who left me. I refuse to use the word abandoned because I''m fairly certain that my mother loved me and didn''t have much choice but to leave me. I''m also fairly certain that she knew it was Walt''s day to make the coffee. I think she probably checked out who was in that company and would never have left me there on a Monday, which was Dirk Dagwood''s day to make coffee. From what I''ve heard, he might not even have noticed a baby sitting there chewing on a stuffed eagle. He was that kind of clueless. It took a while for Walt to adopt me, being a single man and all. He had to get trained and certified as a foster parent. It took another year of my living with him to convince the judge he should be my official dad. Walt spent a lot of time trying to figure me out, and I''m told he talked to me like I was a baby genius. He read me articles from computer magazines, he took computers apart and told me what he was doing and why. During baseball season we watched the games together and he told me how the pitcher was trying to psych out the batter and what some of the signals meant. My favorite signal involved tapping your nose, which Walt said could mean anything, depending on the day. I tapped my nose a lot, and Walt carried me around explaining what everything was and how the world was a pretty complicated place, which I already knew. When the adoption went through, Walt said, "It''s official now. Okay?" "Okay," I said. After that I started talking to Walt and to my stuffed eagle that I named Baby. I didn''t talk to anyone else until later. The problem with having a story like this is people don''t know what to do with it. Their faces get super sad and their shoulders slump as they pat me on the head, which I find irritating, and say, "My, you are a little survivor, aren''t you?" Well, I suppose I am. But since I don''t remember the first few years of my life, I don''t feel like I can take any credit for it. And then there''s the issue of my birthday, which is a theory, but schools seem to need an actual date, so I count three months ahead from October third when I was found to early January. I give the doctor a fudge factor in his estimate of one week, which puts my birthday on January tenth. Getting close is important to me. I''ve lived in four different places, because Walt is a consultant and has to move around a lot. At my last two schools my class was learning the recorder. I''m so done with this instrument. I can play "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" in my sleep. I told Eddie Bartok, who was failing recorder, to pretend he was a snake charmer--they play instruments like this and get the snakes to dance to the music. This caused Eddie to practice like crazy, but his mother wouldn''t get him a snake. He tried charming worms in the garden, but worms today, they couldn''t care less. He played "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" to his dog, who yelped and ran away. Once Eddie was at my house with his recorder and he tried to charm Baby. "Inanimate things don''t respond!" I mentioned. And anyway, nobody can charm an eagle. You can''t keep an eagle in a cage or have one for a pet. The number one rule for eagles is they have to be free. I''m sure this is why my mother gave me that stuffy. She knew I had an eagle inside of me. Not everybody does. But when you do, you''d better pay attention and deal with it, because if you don''t, you''ll have one intensely frustrating life. Chapter 2 "I HAVE A new consulting gig," Walt tells me. "They pay up front." This is excellent news, because lots of Walt''s clients take forever to pay him. Walt has his own consulting company, the Magellan Group. It''s not a group, exactly, and no one is named Magellan; it''s named after Ferdinand Magellan, our favorite dead-for-centuries explorer, who, like Walt, worked 24/7. "Where is it?" I ask. "Ohio." We''re living in St. Louis and I really, really like it here. "They need me for a couple of months, Jer. It''s kind of an emergency." Everything Walt does is somebody''s emergency. No one calls my father and says, "Hey, all systems are go here. Just wanted you to know." "Where in Ohio?" I ask. "Near Cincinnati, but I don''t think--" "The Cincinnati Reds are looking strong this year, Walt." They''re my third favorite team. "They are, but I don''t think--" "The name of the town, Walt . . ." "A smaller place than Cincinnati. Hillcrest, Ohio." "They have a hill with a crest, right?" Walt laughs. "Maybe. They have a company there and . . ." The "and" part is always "and they need a little help." Believe me, when Walt Lopper gets called in, it''s because people need a lot of help. "They''ve got a little problem, Jer." "What kind of problem?" "Their robots keep falling down." "Why?" "It''s unclear." I look in the corner. "Jerwal, are you awake?" Jerwal, the robot Walt and I built together, glows and beeps. Walt hasn''t thought about taking any out-of-town business for a long time, because of my heart. Four years ago, I had a perfectly healthy heart. Then something called cardiomyopathy happened and everything changed. I look at Walt, who sat with me every day I was in the hospital, who never once made me feel like I wasn''t his kid, or was any kind of disappointment or a drain on his life. "When do you have to be there?" "Yesterday, Jer." Today is March twenty-seventh, and lots is about to happen here. The Cardinals'' opening day is April thirteenth and we have tickets. The science fair at my school is coming up and I''ve been working on a project that shows the trajectory of a well-hit baseball in 3-D. I''ve been thinking about contacting the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals to come see it--my findings could be big. I take a deep breath and pull out my phone. Research is critical to decision making. "Hillcrest, Ohio," I read to him. "Population 12,761, located in Ohio''s rich farmland in the western part of the state. A small Midwestern town known for the excellence of its high school baseball program." This is getting interesting. "The Hillcrest High School Hornets have won six state championships and twice clinched the nationals." I look up. "We can gorge ourselves on baseball, Walt!" Walt''s face has that half-sunk look it gets when he hasn''t told me everything. "I think, Jer . . . Well . . . I called your aunt Charity--" "No." "Let me finish. I called her and she said she would stay here with you so you could finish school and--" "No!" "I want you to stay near Dr. Feinberg." "There are doctors in Cincinnati." "Wonderful doctors, no doubt." "Do you care about my heart, Walt?" "What kind of a question is that?" An unfair q