Knopf. (The Brinkley Yearbooks). May 2024. 288p. Tr $21.99. ISBN 9780593306925.
Gr 4 Up–Al (short for Alexandra) has always loved playing baseball, but when she starts middle school, there’s a complication. While the teams have always been co-ed before, in middle school, the baseball team is boys-only. When Al learns that she has the right to try out for this team, her decision has unexpected consequences. Al gets more attention and press coverage than the other members of her baseball team, and she’s even getting more attention than the girls’ basketball team and their record-breaking season. It will be up to Al to figure out whether she should run away from the spotlight or if she can use it to make positive change. This graphic novel is part of the “Brinkley Yearbooks” series, and as in Picture Day, features a school setting and a strong protagonist who needs to figure out the best way to make her voice heard. This story also features several supporting characters who are “trying out” activities that fit their own personalities, such as joining the art club and even becoming a very unusual mascot. The artwork is bright and colorful, conveying energy and action but also the emotions of the characters as they each struggle to find their way.
VERDICT For readers who enjoy realistic graphic novels about sports, school stories, friendship, and issues of identity.

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