I grew up loving Ellen Emerson White’s The President’s Daughter and its sequels, which centered on female characters (the main character’s mother is the first female president) daring to break new ground. White, a longtime fan of the Red Sox, also often includes baseball in her fiction; with her new novel, she brings both these themes together.
Senior year is coming to an end, and Jill Cafferty has, if she chooses to accept it, a full ride to play baseball at Stanford. Through some unusual blend of genetics, innate talent and really hard work, Jill can throw a fastball harder and faster than most male pitchers, and for the last few years, not just colleges but also major league scouts have taken notice. When Jill is, to her own surprise, drafted to the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in the third round of the MLB draft, she decides to take a leap, becoming the first woman to play major league baseball. Immediately, she’s both a role model to millions of little girls and scorned and resented by some hard-line traditionalists—but what does Jill want?
Filled with details about the less-than-glamorous life of minor league ball players, White’s new novel will appeal to sports fiction fans regardless of gender. Some plot points (particularly Jill’s feelings about her deceased dad, as well as her relationships with friends back home) feel underdeveloped by contrast, but overall White successfully avoids many sports fiction clichés, resulting in a thoroughly credible novel that’s begging for a sequel.