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Game Seven
Cover of Game Seven
Game Seven
My name is Julio Ramirez Jr. and baseball is my whole life.

Since he was ten, Julio has lived in the shadow of his famous father. Not just because Julio Senior is a pitcher for the Miami Marlins, but because he fled Cuba to play professional baseball, leaving his Julio and his mother and sister branded as the family of a traitor.

Now sixteen, Julio dreams of playing for Cuba's national team—until he finds out his father's defection may destroy his chances. When he's given the opportunity to flee Cuba, he has to make the toughest choice of his life. Can he abandon his family, just like his Papi did? Will freedom be worth the perilous journey and risking prison if he's caught? Will his Papi be waiting for him on the other shore—or, with the Marlins in the World Series against the Yankees, has Julio Senior forgotten about his son?

Set against the backdrop of the Series on which everything depends, Game Seven is a suspenseful story of loyalty, survival, and baseball.
My name is Julio Ramirez Jr. and baseball is my whole life.

Since he was ten, Julio has lived in the shadow of his famous father. Not just because Julio Senior is a pitcher for the Miami Marlins, but because he fled Cuba to play professional baseball, leaving his Julio and his mother and sister branded as the family of a traitor.

Now sixteen, Julio dreams of playing for Cuba's national team—until he finds out his father's defection may destroy his chances. When he's given the opportunity to flee Cuba, he has to make the toughest choice of his life. Can he abandon his family, just like his Papi did? Will freedom be worth the perilous journey and risking prison if he's caught? Will his Papi be waiting for him on the other shore—or, with the Marlins in the World Series against the Yankees, has Julio Senior forgotten about his son?

Set against the backdrop of the Series on which everything depends, Game Seven is a suspenseful story of loyalty, survival, and baseball.
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Copies-
  • Available:
    0
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    5.3
  • Lexile:
    770
  • Interest Level:
    MG+
  • Text Difficulty:
    3 - 4

Recommended for you

Excerpts-
  • From the book From his chair, Uncle Ramon kicked his shoes off and dug his feet deep into the sand.

    "Your papi was able to get a sum of money into Cuba through a Canadian turista," he said, as the smell of sword­fish filtered through the salty air. "That money was given to Gabriel."

    I was pissed. My family had struggled for every peso, just to meet the bills. No wonder Gabriel could afford steaks like these.

    "Why?" I demanded. "How come our money went to him?"

    "So Gabriel can get us out of Cuba," Uncle Ramon re­plied, before popping the top on a can of soda with a tsssp.

    Those words seemed to hang in the air for a moment— get us out of Cuba.

    I only felt the weight of them when Luis grabbed hold of my arm and gasped, "Holy crap."

    My heart began beating harder and harder inside my chest, and I had to actually think about taking my next breath.

    "And that's his payment?" I asked, hoping to steady myself.

    "Payment?" repeated Gabriel, turning the steaks on the grill with a long metal fork. "No. There's nothing for me. That money covered the entire cost of building—"

    "Look! Down the beach!" interrupted Luis. "Police!"

    There were two officers on a motorcycle with a sidecar. It had three wide wheels, meant to power its way over the sandy shore. They were slowly making their way from the far end of the beach toward where we'd camped.

    "Just act naturally. Remember the truth: you're baseball players from Matanzas celebrating a victory over Puerto Padre. Nothing more," instructed Gabriel. "Besides, I know these two, what they're all about."

    "You know them?" asked Luis.

    "I make it my business to," answered Gabriel, through the smoke from the barbecue.

    The policemen rolled past the families and kids with­out any interest. But they took a long glance at the two girls reading on their blankets. They seemed about to pass us, too, before Gabriel called out to them, "Officers! A moment, please!"

    I shot Uncle Ramon a concerned look, already feeling the sweat on my palms.

    "I've learned to trust him," Uncle Ramon said quietly, barely moving his lips. "There's no other way."

    Gabriel took one of the steaks on a paper plate down to the officers, who were maybe ten yards from the water. They had some conversation. Then one of the officers gave us a thumbs-up and called out, "I used to play baseball myself."

    A minute later, they were gone with their steak.

    "They'll pass this way again in a few hours, just before sundown," said Gabriel, who'd walked back to us. "Their last patrol of the day. That's when we'll be packing up."

    "We're going to sit here that long?" asked Luis. "And do what? Talk?"

    "How much of this does my mama know?" I asked Uncle Ramon.

    "She knows enough," he answered. "That there's a plan, and that it's happening sooner rather than later."

    "How soon?" I asked.

    "Tonight," answered Gabriel, handing me a steaming plate of fish.

    "What about her and Lola?"

    "Your mother thinks the trip is too dangerous for Lola," answered Uncle Ramon. "And she won't leave her daughter behind. Your sister knows nothing of it."

    "They're both staying?" I asked.

    "Your mother's made her choice," my uncle said. "Now you need to make one."

    "How about me?" asked Luis.

    "I'm your father," said Uncle Ramon. "You go where I go, and we're leaving Cuba."

    Luis nodded his head, taking a plate of his own.

    I turned to my cousin and said, "Besides, you don't want to be the son of a defector."

    Then...

Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    January 1, 2015
    Sixteen-year-old Julio Ramirez Jr. dreams of being a junior Nacional and playing for Cuba against the best young players around the world.Baseball is "practically a religion" in Cuba, and Julio's father was like a Cuban god, an all-star pitcher for the Cuban National Team. Now, having defected, he's a star for the Miami Marlins. But instead of pride, Julio feels resentment toward his father for abandoning his family to a life of poverty while he, the great El Fuego, lives the high life in Miami with his multimillion-dollar contract. Moreover, Julio's baseball dreams may not come true: How can he be trusted to leave the country when his father defected; won't he do the same? So Julio defects too, and in a tense and slightly comic scene, he drives to Florida in a green '59 Buick that's been converted into a boat. Julio's reconciliation with his father is handled deftly in its poignant awkwardness, and baseball action is appropriately exciting, though the notion that Julio is allowed to hang out with his father during Game 7 of the World Series is seriously implausible. Volponi wisely shies away from a tidy, inspirational ending but does leave room for hope for reconciliation. An entertaining tale of baseball, family and loyalty. (Fiction. 10-14)

    COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    May 1, 2015

    Gr 6-9-Julio Ramirez, Jr., son of a former Cuban national baseball hero known as El Fuego, is an outstanding player in his own right. He dreams of making the Cuban national junior team, but is viewed with suspicion because of his father's defection to the United States several years before. Julio's feelings toward his father are conflicted: he is proud of the older man's success in the American major leagues, but feels abandoned, as he, his sister, and his mother remain in poverty in Cuba while El Fuego enjoys the benefits of his multimillion dollar contract with the Florida Marlins. Unbeknownst to Julio, his father has made arrangements for him, his uncle, and his cousin to escape the island with the help of a guide named Gabriel. By means of a retrofitted '59 Buick, the four make the harrowing journey from Cuba to Miami, even as El Fuego is playing a starring role in the World Series. Arriving in the U.S., the group is put up in a luxury apartment, but much to Julio's disappointment, his father does not make an appearance. In a turn of events that stretches credulity, Julio is spirited into the Marlins's clubhouse by an ESPN reporter just before the beginning of the final game of the Series. He and his father discuss family issues as the game progresses. While their reunion is moving and appropriately equivocal, sports-savvy youngsters may find the prospect of a teenager chatting up his dad in the bullpen during game seven of the World Series a little difficult to swallow. VERDICT With its short chapters and simple vocabulary, the novel moves along briskly and would be a good fit for reluctant readers with a taste for baseball and adventure.-Richard Luzer, Fair Haven Union High School, VT

    Copyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • DOGO Books catcher77 - i play both baseball and softball i am ALWAYS the CATCHER :)
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    Penguin Young Readers Group
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