Synopsis of Heat
Michael Arroyo is the star pitcher with a wicked fastball who wants to lead his team to the Little League World Series. The heat from Michael’s fastball doesn’t compare to the heat and pressure he is facing at home. After escaping Cuba with their father, a tragic accident leaves Michael and his seventeen-year-old brother to fend for themselves. Everything from overdue bills, social services, and lost birth certificates threatens Michael’s dreams of pitching. When the lies start to get out of hand Michael discovers that others can be your family.
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I decided to pick up this book because I had heard amazing things about the author. I wasn’t sure if I would like it though because I’m not usually into sports in general or books about it. Since I played softball growing up though so I thought I would give it a try. Heat is more than just a story about baseball. It is a story about the hardships of life and how if we rely on one another we can make it through.
Heat Parent Guide
Overall: PG for lying
Adult Content: G
Reading Level: Grades 4-8
Touchy Topics in Heat
- Not trusting adults
- Family Separation
- Parent’s dream vs Your dream
- Poverty vs Wealth
“On days like this, baseball would make Michael as happy as it ever did. No umpires. No coaches. No rules except the ones you made up.”― Mike Lupica, Heat
“If there are real angels in the world,” Michael said to his brother, “how come they’re never around when we need them?”― Mike Lupica, Heat
Heat has so many relevant ideas today, even though it was written in 2007. This book isn’t political at all about immigration or migrant rights but it does give the reader a view of reality for someone who has migrated from a different country and the hardships that they face. Heat talks about lying and who is good or bad and how it hurts everyone in the end.
I especially liked the baseball game sequences. Knowing some sports lingo can help you understand what is going on but they also do a great job of explaining what is happening. Multiple times I was on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what happened next. Heat is definitely more fast-paced than a normal baseball game but it also isn’t an action-packed Marvel movie.
Really though this book is a story about a twelve-year-old who just wants to play ball while everything else conspires around him. It is a great eye-opener and a reminder to be nice to others because we don’t know the whole story.
What to Read Next?
If you enjoyed this book check out other books by Mike Lupica. Some of his other words feature basketball and football. If you want to read a book featuring sports but from a different angle check out Cover-Up: Mystery at the Super Bowl by John Feinstein. Another book that tackles tough topics with a dash of sports is Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes. The last one is best for high schoolers and young adults.