Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 9 to 13
- Grade: 4 to 8
- Reading age: 7 to 10
KaLeah has just moved from Halifax to the small town of Trail, B.C. KaLeah's a natural at baseball, and it's what she loves to do most. But she is excluded and bullied by Nikki and her clique, the popular Valley Girls, because she is black and because she is better at softball than Nikki. She decides she wants to play baseball with the Trail Boys, the best players her age. Except it's an all-boys baseball team. But first KaLeah has to prove herself to the boys and the parents who don't want her to upstage their kids.
About the author
As a boy of African heritage growing up in Trail, B.C., JOHNNY BOATENG learned all about sports and ambition. He played division basketball in Indiana and at Simon Fraser University. He lives in Vancouver, B.C., where he founded The Dream Hoops Basketball Academy and serves as a mentor for disadvantaged youth. He is the author of the award-winning sports novel Hustle. This is his second book.
"A very enjoyable book to read and gave you a nice feel good feeling as she overcomes lots of obstacles to play a sport that she loves."
"Not just a baseball story, this reading level 4.2 book also addresses the issues of bullying in person and online, belonging, grief and persistence. The hero Kal is a strong, athletic girl who loves baseball so much that she tries harder and harder in the face of bullying...
The book is totally up to date as the teens have cellphones and laptops to use Instagram and Snapchat to hurt others. The dialogue is realistic for the age group, lively and effective as it moves the action along...The fluid, transitory way in which this age group enters into and drifts out of relationships is very well done in this book.
Although baseball is central to the story and the baseball scenes are full of action and drama, all teens will be drawn to the personal drama of how the characters win friends and influence people."
"I enjoyed Boateng's writing; it's fast-paced with realistic interactions between the teens... References to current social media like SnapChat give this a very contemporary feel... The themes of discrimination, race and gender are handled with an appropriate hand for the topic and young readers will enjoy seeing how Kal finds acceptance in her new community."
"Upon first inspection Two Strikes seems like a straightforward novel about a young girl who just wants to play baseball in a small town. However, this little book deals with far greater issues such as identity, racism, and gender politics... I would recommend this novel to any young person who is searching for his or her own acceptance."
"The detail in this book was so good that it was hard to believe. Though I don't know much about baseball the book taught me a lot about the sport. I was certainly impressed with how advanced the speaking parts were in this very talented, vibrant, impressive, book."