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The sixth-grade girls of Barlow and Bear Creek Ridge have been waiting to play in the annual softball game -- the Bat 6 -- for as long as they can remember.<P><P> But something is different this year. There's a new girl on both teams, each with a secret in her past that puts them on a collision course set to explode on game day. No one knows how to stop it. All they can do is watch...
LaVaughn needed a part-time job. Something she could do after school to help earn money for college. Jolly needed a babysitter. Someone she could trust with two kids while she worked the evening shift. It didn't matter that LaVaughn was fourteen-years-old-only three years younger than Jolly. It didn't matter that Jolly didn't have a husband-or a mom and dad. Because LaVaughn gives Jolly and her two babies more love and understanding than should be possible for a fourteen-year-old. Because if she doesn't, no one else will. LeVaughn describes the difficulties and triumphs of a teen mom raising two babies with insufficient money and support, and what it takes to survive and attempt to break the cycle of poverty.
Allegra Shapiro decides to enter a prestigious competition for young musicians, but ends up spending the summer doing more than practicing the violin. She comes to terms with difficult issues and learns important lessons about her family and herself.
Sixteen-year-old learning-disabled Nick struggles to endure a life in which the other kids make fun of him, he has to take special classes, his date for the prom makes an excuse not to go with him, and he is haunted by the memory of his older sister, who drowned while he was watching.
High-school-senior LaVaughn's perceptions and expectations of her life begin to change as she learns about the many unexpected connections between the people she loves best.
We have a multitude of obstacles to overcome here. <P><P> We'll begin. <P> When LaVaughn was little, the obstacles in her life didn't seem so bad. If she had a fight with Myrtle or Annie, it would never last long. If she was mad at her mother, they made up by bedtime. School was simple. Boys were buddies. Everything made sense. <P> But LaVaughn is fifteen and the obstacles aren't going away anymore. Big questions separate her from her friends. Her mother is distracted by a new man. School could slip away from her so easily. And the boy who's a miracle in her life acts just as if he's in love with her. Only he's not in love with her. <P> Returning to the characters and language she explored so profoundly in Make Lemonade, Virginia Euwer Wolff rises to the occasion in this astonishing second of three novels about LaVaughn, her family, and her community.<P> Winner of the National Book Award
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