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Book Reviews, Historical Fiction, Lovelace Award Nominee, Middle Grade Readers

THE BROOKLYN NINE by Alan Gratz…a LOVELACE nominee Division II

The Brooklyn Nine is sectioned into nine innings/stories, each of which is a succeeding generation in one family with the theme of each story centering around baseball.  It is an intriguing structure for a novel and has some great possibilities.

The individual stories are each well-written with nicely drawn characters. I liked the stories/”innings” separately. The problem I have is that there is really no connection between the stories in plot or character content.  The characters from the earlier generation rarely appear in the ensuing story, and when they do it is usually only in a brief mention.  Each story felt very separate from the others.  As a result the book felt like a string of unconnected short stories; each time the story seemed to be picking up in pace and excitement and interest it was over and the author switched to different setting, different story, different plot.  For me, as a reader, it was disconcerting.

I think The Brooklyn Nine has some of the same characteristics as fellow Lovelace nominee Football Genius in that each book is probably enhanced by a reader’s interest in baseball or football.  I am a big football fan and so I enjoyed Football Genius‘s descriptions of football games and strategies.  In contrast I am NOT a baseball enthusiast and at times found myself bored and wanting to skip over descriptions of baseball games, players and strategies in The Brooklyn Nine.

In summary, The Brooklyn Nine is a collection of good–but not great–short stories.  If you love baseball you will probably enjoy this book quite a lot.  If baseball is not your thing, this book is probably not for you.

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