Throughout “Hard Hit” Ann Turner writes in a rather distinctive style. Almost all her sentences are written on the right hand pages in lines that are four or less words long. Only in a few places does she use the left hand pages, and only to make certain key phrases stand out.
The main character is young Mark Warren. Compared with many other children, Mark Warren has a great life. He's a star pitcher for his high school baseball team, he has a great family with two parents, and Diane, the pretty girl in his class, seems to be on her way to becoming his girlfriend.
But then Mark's father is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. This news completely changes the focus of Mark's life. Mark is willing to try anything, praying to God, even not fighting with his sister, if only his father will survive.
Then Mark decides that if he can pitch a no-hitter baseball game for his father than his father will get well. Mark works out his frustrations by practicing pitching all day while Diane and Mark's best friend Eddie help him fine tune his skills.
Mark works hard to pitch a no-hitter game but he can't seem to do it. For a while it seems that he won't have to. The chemotherapy that has been making his father so sick seems to have done the trick. CAT scans show that the tumor has shrunk and Mark's father regains some of his energy.
But then Mark's father has a relapse and the cancer returns, worse then ever. Mark is more determined than ever to pitch a no-hitter for his father, but will it make any difference in the end?
“Hard Hit” is a very touching book, even if its style is a little bit sparse. However, Ann Turner's words are honest and pure and their style is sure to appeal to anyone suffering from the loss of a close relative. “Hard Hit” is obviously designed specifically for that purpose, with addresses and contact information in the back for such organization as The National Center for Grieving Children and Families, and The American Cancer Society.
“Hard Hit” is a beautifully written book that many young readers can benefit greatly from.
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