Friday, January 6, 2017

Aim ~ historical fiction for the middle grades

by Joyce Moyer Hostetter
288 pages; ages 9-12
Calkins Creek, 2016

Fourteen-year-old Junior Bledsoe would like nothing better than to play baseball, but he can't make practices because he's got to take care of the farm chores when Pop goes off drinking. His pop's not a bad guy - he fixes folks' cars and never takes money for it - but he's got his own problems.

Junior's got his own problems, too, including his new roommate - granddaddy. Granddaddy loves baseball, too, and listens to games on the radio - except when he's listening for news of the war. So far, the US has managed to stay out of it, but for how long?

Then there's school. Junior wants to do something more useful than practice penmanship. And he's tired of getting picked on. Things change when Pop dies, and Junior quits school to take care of the farm. But he wants more. He wants to be of use. And he wants to find out whether someone had a hand in his Pop's death. What starts as an attempt to make friends with the bully leads Junior into a series of bad decisions.

What I like about this book is the way Joyce Hostetter pulls you into the world her characters inhabit. She brings Hickory, North Carolina to life in such a way that you'll be checking the map to see if it really exists (it does) and whether you can hop a train to get there (you can't). 

We'll be hanging out on Marvelous Middle Grade Monday with other  bloggers over at Shannon Messenger's blog. Hop over to see what other people are reading.
Review copy provided by the publisher.


  1. Such a lovely book! Glad to see you spreading the word.

  2. I've had this one on my list of books to read for many months. Your review convinced me to put it on the top. Such a great, engaging plot.

  3. Somehow I had missed hearing about this, but I love the author's other books. Lovely review, and I can't wait to check it out!

  4. This book sounds great! Thanks for the review!

  5. Sounds like a great story with the combination of baseball and historical themes.

  6. I hadn't heard of this one. I love it when books have a strong sense of place.

  7. Somehow, I missed your post. I enjoyed your review of Joyce Hostetter's "Aim." I like the setting, plot and time period. For some reason it reminded me of Claire Vanderpool's novel "Moon Over Manifest."