Cover image for Safe at home : a Comeback Kids novel
Safe at home : a Comeback Kids novel
Publication Information:
New York : Puffin Books / Walden Media, 2009, c2008.
Physical Description:
175, 8 p. ; 20 cm.
Reading Level:
960 L Lexile
Playing baseball was the one thing that made twelve-year-old Nick Crandall feel at home until he found acceptance with adoptive parents, but he faces a new struggle to fit in when he becomes the first seventh-grader ever to make the varsity baseball team.


Material Type
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Paperback book PB J FICTION LUP 1 1

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From #1 New York Times bestseller Mike Lupica!

Nick Crandall feels like he doesn't belong anywhere. He doesn't fit in with his new foster parents. They don't know the first thing about sports - and he's not exactly the model student they want him to be. It's only a matter of time until they realize he's not the right kid for them. And Nick certainly doesn't belong playing varsity baseball. He's only twelve years old! His teammates want a catcher their own age. But Nick needs to prove that he belongs - to his parents, to his team, and to himself.

Author Notes

Michael Lupica (born on May 11, 1952 in Oneida, New York) is an American newspaper columnist. At the age of 23, Lupica began his newspaper career covering the New York Knicks for the New York Post. In 1977, he became the youngest columnist ever at a New York newspaper when he started working for the New York Daily News. He has also written for numerous magazines during his career including Golf Digest, Playboy, Sports Illustrated, ESPN: The Magazine, Men's Journal and Parade. In 2003, he received the Jim Murray Award from the National Football Foundation. He has been a television anchor for ESPN's The Sports Reporters and hosted his own program The Mike Lupica Show on ESPN2.

Lupica has written both fiction and non-fiction books. His novels include Dead Air; Limited Partner; Jump; Full Court Press; Red Zone; Too Far; Wild Pitch; and Bump and Run. He also writes the Mike Lupica's Comeback Kids series. He co-wrote autobiographies with Reggie Jackson and Bill Parcells and collaborated with William Goldman on Wait Till Next Year. His other non-fiction works include The Summer of '98; Mad as Hell: How Sports Got Away from the Fans and How We Get It Back; and Shooting from the Lip.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-Nick Crandall, a seventh grader, is looking forward to being the star catcher of his junior varsity baseball team. However, when the varsity team catcher is injured, Nick must suit up behind the plate with the eighth graders. Frustrated by Nick's presence, the team members go to great lengths to make the boy feel unwelcome. Nick cracks under the pressure. As with most Mike Lupica novels, Nick's home life plays a significant role in this installment (Philomel, 2008) in the series. The fact that Nick is adopted, and that his parents are both professors with little interest in sports, are burdens for Nick to bear. Predictably, Nick saves the day at the big game, and even finds a way to connect with his dad, all within a few weeks. This title is a good choice for reluctant readers with a background in baseball, as not all terminology is explained. Keith Nobbs's narration helps to build tension and excitement. While Nick's emotional intelligence is a bit advanced for his age, it allows the story to move at a rapid pace. For boys and girls who have outgrown novels by Matt Christopher.-Richelle Roth, Boone County Public Library, Florence, KY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



1 More than anything, Nick Crandall's real family had always been baseball. He'd always felt that way about the teams he'd played on, since his first T-ball team. And he felt that way about the teams in the majors he followed, usually the ones with the best catchers, because Nick was a catcher, too. Baseball was the only thing that made Nick feel like he really belonged. There were a lot of reasons why he loved baseball season, but that was the biggest. Maybe everybody else on junior varsity at the Hayworth School, all the other sixth and seventh-graders on the team, looked at the calendar and thought the school year was coming to an end. Not Nick. As far as he was concerned, everything was just beginning. School baseball was for the spring, and that was his only team in the spring, because Paul and Brenda Crandall had one rule about sports: one team per season. Even that was all right with Nick. He got to play school ball every day except on the weekends, and he could look forward to playing in their town's summer Little League from the end of June into August. So when he looked at the calendar, all he could see was baseball, practically all the way until school started again in the fall. It was the first week of tryouts for JV, even though hardly anybody thought of them as tryout tryouts, because everybody who came out made the team. Some guys did get cut off varsity, made up of eighth- and ninth-graders, depending on how many came out. But even those guys, no matter how old they were, got moved down to JV if they still wanted to play. Nobody moved up, though. You didn't get to play varsity at Hayworth until you were in eighth. Nobody was sure if it was an official written-down rule. But if you played sports at Hayworth, and everybody had to play at least one, you knew that's how things were done. Nick didn't care. No way did he care. He was in no rush to play varsity, anyway. The varsity catcher, Bobby Mazzilli, was graduating with the rest of his class in June. So in Nick's mind, a mind filled with baseball stuff the way his desk drawers were filled with baseball cards and magazines, next year he had a good shot at being varsity catcher. That was no sure thing, of course, even though things seemed to be set up just right for him. Because more than anything he knew about baseball, Nick knew this: There were no sure things in your life. Excerpted from Safe at Home by Mike Lupica All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.