Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 12 to 16
- Grade: 7 to 11
It's 1946. A poor Jewish neighbourhood in Montreal where a few dollars equal a fortune, and no matter where you go, you'll find the best home cooking anywhere on earth. It's also a million miles away from the posh mansions on the other side of town. But a 12-year-old boy can hope.
Just across town something incredible is happening. Jackie Robinson is playing for the Montreal Royals. And he's going to change the world. If Jackie can do it, then so too can a poor Jewish kid from The Plateau.
About the author
HEATHER CAMLOT is the author of the nonfiction What If Soldiers Fought with Pillows? and the Skipping Stones Honor Award novels The Other Side and Clutch, the latter of which was named among Kirkus’s Best Middle-Grade Historical Fiction. A journalist for more than 20 years, she has written, edited and translated for various publications, including Quill & Quire, Owl, TV Guide Canada and Style at Home. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.
"Joey narrates his own tale with all the fear and bravado he is feeling moment to moment. Camlot weaves the elements together seamlessly and naturally while never losing sight of Joey at the center of it all. All the characters, including the city itself, are fully developed and play important roles in Joey's journey, as when Mr. Friedman speaks to Joey about his Holocaust experiences and losses. Yiddish phrases and traditions are defined as they occur. Woven through it all is the story of Jackie Robinson's first season of professional baseball in Montreal, captivating Joey and his friends, with actual quotes from sports reporters placed at the beginning of each chapter. Readers will be completely enthralled with Joey's world and root for him all the way. Powerful, moving, and wonderful."
— Kirkus Star Review
"A superb story. Joey is a fully developed, complex character one can't help but love. His friends and family are all believable and interesting. The fast-paced plot is never dull and never predictable. Tension steadily mounts when Joey, in his desperate search for money, unwittingly aligns himself with a gangster who just happens to be the father of his best friend, Ben. Serious trouble looms.
"By the end of Clutch, Joey has learned some important life lessons, but he is still 13. One can only hope Camlot writes a sequel — Joey surely has many great adventures ahead."
— Quill & Quire
"Heather Camlot's characters are people you'd like to know. In writing Clutch, she has scored a home run.
— CM Magazine
"This Toronto author's debut novel is a wonderful read, with a compelling plot, plenty of unpredictable twists and an engaging protagonist who learns some important life lessons."
— City Parent
"Heather Camlot has hit a home run with this debut novel! Chapters are short, the plot moves along at a great pace and she has created endearing characters that are easy for kids to relate to. Both reluctant and proficient readers will want to keep turning the pages to reach the end, and whether they're baseball crazed or not, they'll love this heartfelt and moving story about a young Jewish kid who just wants a better life for himself and his family."
— Canadian Children's Book News
"Clutch is a close and compelling look at one small family within a small community, part of a larger community still struggling to find its feet after the horrors of the Second World War and the Holocaust, finding meaning in the triumphs of an underdog hero and in embracing the connections that make us who we are. The author's interview at the end of the story is lovely.
— thebookwars.ca blog
"Short chapters that keep the intriguing plot moving quickly forward, a feeling of ever-growing tension, terrific secondary characters worthy of our admiration and having their own stories to tell, together teach a memorable history lesson for readers. Joey's first person narration is poignant, brave, and desperate. You will not forget him. I hope to meet him again one day."
— Sal's Fiction Addiction
"A meticulously researched and lovingly crafted debut novel. . . The story dazzles with tight, pithy writing and accurate historical details that are smoothly woven in."
— Montreal Review of Books
"Heather Camlot hits it out of the ballpark with this wise, tender and often funny story about friendship, loss and post-World War II Montreal."
— Monique Polak, author of Bullies Rule
"Life, death, love and baseball! What more could a reader want? A home run."
— Kevin Sylvester, author of MiNRS
Other titles by Heather Camlot
Becoming Bionic and Other Ways Science Is Making Us Super
The Prisoner and the Writer
True Stories of the Determination to Learn
I Can't Do What?
Strange Laws and Rules from Around the World
My Delicious Garden
The Other Side
What If Soldiers Fought with Pillows?
True Stories of Imagination and Courage