After Gene Fehler's older sister died from lung cancer, Fehler worked through his grief by writing Never Blame the Umpire, a young adult novel. It is the story of Kate, a baseball-loving 11-year-old whose mother is battling cancer. "I wanted to write a book that would have characters that would respond to the situation in the way I hope I would be able to respond, and as strong and brave as my sister had been.'' Fehler's previous books include Change Up: Baseball Poems and Beanball, a South Carolina Young Adult Book Award nominee for 2009-2010.
What is on your nightstand?
Several sports novels for teens. The authors include Tim Green, Mike Lupica, Alan Gratz and James Preller. There are now some really good young adult authors for sports fiction.
Do you have a baseball novel that's a favorite right now?
Allen Gratz's Brooklyn Nine. It came out last year. I think it is one of the most brilliantly written baseball novels I have ever read. This is a novel, originally written for young adults, that traces a Brooklyn family through nine generations. It begins in the pre-Civil War era. It's actually kind of nine separate novelettes, nine innings, nine generations.
Piper Castillo, Times staff writer