Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Book Review: The Prince of Fenway Park by Julianna Baggott

*Review copy from publisher for Cybils*
The Prince of Fenway Park is the story of Oscar, who is beginning to wonder if he's cursed.  Nothing seems to go well for him, from his brief and strange visits with his father, to his mother's new love interest and the teasing and taunting he gets at school.  But, when his mother leaves him with his father, Oscar is about to discover that he isn't the only one who feels cursed.  He's also about to enter a world he never imagined existed - underneath Fenway Park.

The Prince of Fenway Park
Things I Liked:
The book held an interesting and fun story, complete with great characters and lots of strange creatures.  I think the book will appeal more to baseball fans, and it just might get them interested in fantasy books.  But, what I thought made it so fabulous were the themes of race and identity that seem to creep up on you.  I love that they are not banging you over the head with these ideas, but subtly and neatly adding them as essential parts of Oscar's story.  It was little lines like this that kept me hooked and intrigued throughout:

"His father understood what it was like to be two in one.  His father had wings.  His father had a part of himself that he wasn't sure what to do with." p57
"It's better to forgive people.  It's better to forgive them for their future wrongs.  It's better to go out there and let that forgiveness make things right.  Ugliness and racism and meanness have ganged up to make things wrong.  It's only forgiveness - your forgiveness - that's stronger than this curse." p279
Things I Didn't Like:
I had a hard time understanding the fantasy elements, particularly the cursed creatures.  Some details didn't seem to align correctly and some felt like they were not fully formed.  It lacked the spark that many fabulous fantasy books hold in their fantastic details.  Fortunately, I think the other elements, Oscar and his inner musings and the subtle themes, make this truly enjoyable.

Mudville by Kurtis Scaletta

We are the Ship by Kadir Nelson

s-factor: none

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: none

Overall rating: ****

Posted as part of Tween Tuesday, hosted by GreenBeanTeenQueen.

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. I've been going back and forth on if this book interests me or not. I think readers looking for baseball books would enjoy it.

  2. I agree. It won't have a wide appeal, but I'm hoping it will draw those sports readers into fantasy (even though those elements were not the best).


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