Tween Angst

Author: Dawn Brotherton

Do you remember what it was like to be 12 years old?  Yeah, me neither, not really.  But author Dawn Brotherton does a pretty good job bringing back the memories in her tween book, Trish’s Team.

Trish is our main character, and she is 12 years old (so knows exactly how it feels).  She loves to play softball, is heading to junior high in the fall, and has parents who don’t understand her (she’s a little advanced for her age with that one).  She’s pretty happy playing with her current softball team, but is very excited when she’s given a chance to try out for the more competitive Lady Tiger’s team.  The only problem?  Try-outs and practice conflict with orchestra practice.

So Trish has a dilemma.  Her parents have never paid much attention to her softball, but they see her violin as the road to a scholarship someday.  She wishes they would understand how much she loves her sport, but they’re busy and distracted and Trish makes some pretty classic mistakes in trying to play both sides of this particular field.

Trish’s Team is very much a tween book.  Trish is 12 – the best audience for the reading level and social sophistication of the story is going to be between 9 and 12.  The focus is on sports and friends and parents and rules – this is a book for girls who aren’t yet in middle school or junior high with boys and social media to worry about.   The best audience is also going to consist of girls who love sports – particularly those who love softball.  The book is a little long on game play-by-play, so those completely uninterested in the sports may get bored and not get to the other aspects of the story.

That said, there are a lot of girls in this target audience.  Girls who are coming up on the end of elementary school and are just beginning to navigate the tricky differences between what they want and what their parents want.  There are well thought out lessons about honesty, friendship, and responsibilities that come with increased freedom.  As an adult reader, it reminded me that it’s important for parents to make sure they’re really listening to their kids – to what they don’t say as much as what they do.

Trish’s Team is well written for the target age group, and does a good job modeling positive friendships, realistic consequences for mistakes made, reasonable adult role models, and the kinds of choices kids need to start making as they reach this age.  A strong recommendation for sports loving girls between the ages of 9 and 12 – and their parents.

-S. Millinocket

My thanks to Maryglenn McCombs for sending me a review copy of Trish’s Team

Sue Millinocket
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