2.0 on the Masq Scale. Keeping Score by @JamiDeise #chicklit #bookreview

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Keeping Score 

Written by
Jami Deise 

Genre: Chick Lit

Book Synopsis

When her 9-year-old son wanted to play summer travel baseball, Shannon had no idea the toughest competition was off the field…. 

When her son Sam asks to try out for a travel baseball team, divorced mom Shannon Stevens thinks it’ll be a fun and active way to spend the summer. Boy, is she wrong! From the very first practice, Shannon and Sam get sucked into a mad world of rigged try-outs, professional coaches, and personal hitting instructors. 

But it’s the crazy, competitive parents who really make Shannon’s life miserable. Their sons are all the second coming of Babe Ruth, and Sam isn’t fit to fetch their foul balls. Even worse, Shannon’s best friend Jennifer catches the baseball fever. She schemes behind the scenes to get her son Matthew on the town’s best baseball team, the Saints. As for Sam? Sorry, there’s no room for him! Sam winds up on the worst team in town, and every week they find new and humiliating ways to lose to the Saints. 

And the action off the field is just as hot. Shannon finds herself falling for the Saints’ coach, Kevin. But how can she date a man who didn’t think her son was good enough for his team … especially when the whole baseball world is gossiping about them? Even Shannon’s ex-husband David gets pulled into the mess when a randy baseball mom goes after him. 

As Sam works to make friends, win games and become a better baseball player, Shannon struggles not to become one of those crazy baseball parents herself. In this world, it’s not about whether you win, lose, or how you play the game… it’s all about KEEPING SCORE.

Beverly D's Review

I really wanted to LOVE this book. Having been around the bleachers as a single mom for my share of baseball seasons, I expected to be rooting for Shannon and Sam, much more than I did.

This book felt like watching a youth baseball game where your son's team is in the field and the pitcher and CANNOT consistently find the strike zone. Time seemed to slow to a crawl as I slogged through. Was the primary theme about female friendship, as the opening and blurb seemed to suggest? Romance? Challenges of single motherhood?

Shannon and Jennifer are (theoretically) best friends, as are their sons, Sam and Matthew. But when the boys are placed on rival baseball teams, the friendships of both mothers and sons falls apart. My problem is that I didn't see that the women ever HAD a deep, intimate, friendship. Jennifer did a lot of carpooling and was a bleacher friend, but there was no mention of missing the monthly mani-pedi, or texting each other about cake recipes, or missing girls' movie nights, or being able to call each other up and talk about getting called back for another Pap smear.

Shannon sounded just as catty and backbiting and trying-to-get-the-other-moms-to-take-her-side as Jennifer might have been. Then there was voiced angst over the cost of this equipment and the amount of the check for the travel team, but it simply sounded like whine-bragging, because I never SAW Shannon feel any pain over the money; for instance, getting the IMPORTANT two tires replaced, not all four because that money had gone to the pitching coach, cancelling her gym membership because the XX dollars a month would be just enough to cover some baseball cost, or looking for part-time free-lance work she could do with her laptop at night to pay for said coaching.

Where this book excelled was at portrayed both the behind the scenes gossip about who was sleeping with which coach to get her kid on the team, the catty one-upmanships among the bleacher moms, and the play-by-play baseball action, which I really enjoyed. The potential romance between Shannon and Kevin/Shannon and Ron - neither felt very deep or meaningful. The love affairs of Sam's dad/Shannon's ex - another gadfly.

What rang most emotionally true to me was the pain over seeing one's child teased or losing a friendship because of a sports rivalry. In the end, the stakes did not feel high enough, and the characters didn't have to risk enough, nor go deep enough. If you enjoy a light overview of summer with a baseball travel team with various anecdotes, you might enjoy this.

Review Disclaimer: Book provided in exchange for an honest review.

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