The Secret at Haney Field: A Baseball Mystery by R.M. Clark

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The Secret at Haney Field: A Baseball Mystery by R.M. Clark
Publisher: MB Publishing
Genre: Young Adult, Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (130 pages)
Age Recommendation: 8+
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Twelve-year-old April O’Day’s summer has gotten off to a flying start. As the new bat retriever for the Harpoons, her hometown’s minor league team, she’s fetching bats and doling out great advice to players and coaches alike. In a word, she’s becoming indispensable. But mysterious things are happening at Haney Field, which April and her best friend – and fellow baseball enthusiast – Darren Plummer are determined to uncover. As they quickly learn, this is no ordinary season. In fact, it’s a whole new ball game.

Sometimes the past refuses to stay buried.

I liked April immediately. It was nice to meet a young adult character who doesn’t have any special powers or access to magical devices. April is quite well-read for her age, but other than that she’s a completely ordinary girl who has to rely on her own intelligence and resourcefulness to figure out what’s happening on Haney field.

It seemed odd to me that April had such a hard time finding out more information about the Negro Leagues at first. It would have made more sense a generation or two ago, but the Internet is full of people who are avid fans of all kinds of things. I’ve discovered blogs and websites about much more obscure historical events than this one. This is a minor criticism of an otherwise compelling story though.

The baseball glossary was a nice touch. I know almost nothing about that sport and would have had some trouble figuring out what certain characters were talking about without it. The concepts it discusses seem to be fairly basic, but it’s a good tool for those of us who need that kind of refresher.

The age recommendation for this tale needs an explanation. April is twelve, but she comes across as someone younger than that because of what she is and is not interested in. Eight is the youngest age I’d recommend this book to, though, due to some paranormal themes that might be a little too frightening for younger readers.

The Secret at Haney Field: A Baseball Mystery is a great choice for anyone who loves baseball or a spooky ghost story. I had a good time reading it and will be recommending it family members and young friends in this age range!

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