Change-Up: Mystery at the World Series
Best for ages: 9 up
Library of Congress Descriptor: While covering the World Series, teen reporters Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol uncover some inconsistencies in the life story of a popular, new pitcher and begin to investigate.
Type of Book: Chapter/Fiction
Teen reporters Stevie and Susan Carol are covering the World Series when they meet the perfect story -- an aging minor-leaguer, widower and single dad, called up to the majors just in time to pitch in the Series. But his story about how his wife died doesn't ring true, and since he is about to sign a deal for his life story, it seems worth investigating. With everyone involved telling lies, and whatever the truth is seeming destined to destroy a family, where does journalism end and privacy begin?
Unlike others in this series, this isn't really about sports. There's a bit of sports action (which will be a bit hard to follow for anyone who doesn't know baseball pretty well), but it's mostly window dressing for a non-sports mystery with a strong ethical component. The story raises a host of interesting questions, some with a clear authorial opinion, some more ambiguous. How can we know the truth when everyone is lying? Is it ever a good thing to cover up the truth? What are the rights of famous people, journalists, and the reading public? Is fame worth the price?
This series does for bright kids who love to write what the Tom Swift series did for bright kids who love science: provides a delightful fantasy of brilliant and talented kids operating with nearly complete freedom in the adult world and beating adults at their own game. Add in mystery, sports action, and in this case an ethical dilemma, and you get a winning formula that's fun and provokes both though and daydreams. -- Matt Berman
He turned and saw a player standing at the locker. He had a bottle of champagne in his hands but clearly wasn't involved in the celebration. After seven games Stevie thought he knew all the Nationals players. but he was drawing a blank on both the face and the number, which was 56.
Apparently, the player noticed the blank look on Stevie's face, because he stuck his hand out and said, "Norbert Doyle. You've never heard of me because I've never done anything."
Other Books by John Feinstein
Cover-up: Mystery at the Super Bowl
More Ethical Dilemmas
A Kind of Thief by Vivien Alcock
Nothing but the Truth by Avi
Broken Bridge by Lynne Reid Banks
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
The Mimosa Tree by Vera and Bill Cleaver
My Crooked Family by James Lincoln Collier
Saving Casey by Karen Mueller Coombs
Weasel by Cynthia DeFelice
Cricket and the Crackerbox Kid by Alane Ferguson
One-Eyed Cat by Paula Fox
Stepping on the Cracks by Mary Downing Hahn
North to Freedom by Anne Holm
Liars by P. J. Petersen
Devil’s Bridge by Cynthia DeFelice
Caleb’s Choice by G. Clifton Wisler
Losers, Inc. by Claudia Mills
Standing Up to Mr. O. by Claudia Mills
Painting the Black by Carl Deuker
Lord of the Deep by Graham Salisbury
The Prophet of Yonwood (Ember, Book 3) by Jeanne DuPrau
Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby
Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork
Sex: Some kissing.
Language: A bit of mild swearing and one use of asshole.
Violence: A woman was killed in a car accident in the past, a girl slaps a boy, a man sets his dog after a boy, a brief fistfight..
Commercialism: Soda, fast food, department store brands mentioned.
Drugs: One of the characters is a reformed alcoholic, and the mystery revolves around an accident that may have involved drunk driving. Adults drink and get drunk. A discussion of chewing tobacco.
Behavior: Stevie and Susan Carol are models of young gifted teens pursuing their passion for writing in an adult world, meeting deadlines, and being serious and dependable. The story revolves around a question of journalistic ethics.