Ten years ago, God gave Braden a sign, a promise that his family wouldn't fall apart the way he feared.
But Braden got it wrong: His older brother, Trey, has been estranged from the family for almost as long, and his father, the only parent Braden has ever known, has been accused of murder. The arrest of Braden's father, a well-known Christian radio host, has sparked national media attention. His fate lies in his son's hands; Braden is the key witness in his father's upcoming trial.
Braden has always measured himself through baseball. He is the star pitcher in his small town of Ornette, and his 94-mile-per-hour pitch already has minor league scouts buzzing in his junior year. Now the rules of the sport that has always been Braden's saving grace are blurred in ways he never realized, and the prospect of playing against Alex Reyes, the nephew of the police officer his father is accused of killing, is haunting his every pitch.
Braden faces an impossible choice, one that will define him for the rest of his life, in this brutally honest debut novel about family, faith, and the ultimate test of conviction.
"Both hopeful and devastatingly real." (Kirkus)
"A poignant look at the messiness of love, faith, and humanity." (School Library Journal)
"Gilbert respectfully and sensitively handles themes of faith, religion, and family.... [A] moving debut." (Booklist)
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Baseball, Religion & Brothers Collide
Foul Flawed Father
I read this book for 2 reasons - first as part of the Hub Reading Challenge and Morris Award and second as part of the #yearofya April mystery month - this book I listened to is recommended for lovers of Harlan Coben's psychological thrillers. And boy do I agree! The narration by Michael Crouch was oh so awesome! I could not stop listening as teen Braden tells of his life with his father who is a powerful (and very flawed) religious speaker and his passion for baseball and God. He also tugs at your heart when he describes how his brother Trey (also flawed but due to father calling him "a bad person" his whole life) abandons him and he yearns for his companionship over the years. There is an accident and Braden's dad is arrested for killing a policeman with his car and Braden is key to his father's defense. When Trey comes home as his guardian, there is so much anguish in that house; I hoped for redemption for Trey and Braden. But Gilbert's debut is an awesome, anguishing look at the secrets and perverseness of religion and families/fathers. Loved this book but ached for Braden, such a sympathetic character.
When Braden and Trey finally get back together
Take back your life
- B. J. Neary