In a tale that is tense and scary right up until its improbably happy ending, 12-year-old Ryder is suddenly left on his own when his mother lands in the ICU. Circumstances dictate he must contact the father he hasnever known. Fortunately, he gets both immediate and longer term help from a compassionate New York City firefighter and from an embittered ex-reporter immobilized with a degenerative disease. Unfortunately, his dad turns out to be a major league pitcher—with a wife and family. After his mom is given only days to live unless she has a very expensive operation, the pressure is on to find a way to come face-to-face with the man and then convince him to help. Green sends his painfully shy but courageous protagonist through realistically vicious emotional rapids as well as less realistic but suspenseful efforts to sneak into baseball clubhouses in both New York and Atlanta. Neither these ploys nor the eventual confrontation go well, but help comes just as all seems lost, and everyone’s fortunes—even those of the reporter and the firefighter—turn bright. Ryder’s fear and despair are sharply felt, and readers who prefer stories with uncomplicated resolutions will be pleased by the prolific Green’s latest outing.
— John Peters