Review of The Girl, the Ring, & the Baseball Bat

The Girl, the Ring, & the Baseball Bat The Girl, the Ring, & the Baseball Bat
by Camille Gomera-Tavarez
High School    Levine Querido    408 pp.
2/24    9781646142651    $19.99

Alternating narrators Rosie, Caro, and Zeke find themselves transplanted to Jersey City, New Jersey, where each struggles to relate to the people around them. Sisters Rosie and Caro arrived with their mom from the Dominican Republic years earlier, escaping an abusive and absent father who has gone on to start a new family. After losing his mom, Zeke (who is of Jamaican and Panamanian descent) has moved to the area from Miami for a fresh start. Each teen battles their own anxieties through a series of misadventures that uncover hidden truths about themselves and their family histories. They are helped along the way by Rosie and Caro’s aunt, whose spiritual practices explain the power of several magical objects that enter their lives: a pink jacket, two rings, and a baseball bat. Gomera-Tavarez offers a fast-paced plot with relatable characters who represent distinctive Afro-Latine experiences. Zeke also navigates his emerging queer identity, and the young women deal with gender-based pressures about appearance and sexuality, demonstrated through a strained relationship with their mother. While the story touches upon various types of trauma and abuse, it does so in a way that can help readers identify tactics for recognizing and processing pain and suffering, especially with the help of loved ones.

From the May/June 2024 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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