Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Iva-Marie Palmer
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Gabby Garcia has a bunch of broken dreams now that her junior high school is filled with asbestos and she has to play for the baseball team that used to be her competitor. She records all of her twelve-year-old thoughts in her playbook, which she says is not anything like a diary. The opposing team and coach aren’t excited to have her on the team, so she quits baseball and joins the field hockey team, where she thinks she can actually win and feel welcome. She bounces between friend groups and sports teams in order to find her niche. At the last minute, she helps win both the baseball game that leads to nationals and the talent competition, which will bring their their group to New York City. The cherry on top is that the boy she has a crush on starts crushing on her back!
Gabby Garcia’s Ultimate Playbook is the journal-of-sorts that Gabby writes in during her time in middle school. Any twelve-year-old can easily relate to this dramatic, baseball loving girl who just wants to fit in at her new school. She learns to make friends with people she doesn’t have a lot in common with. She figures out what she’s good at. She compares herself to famous athletes and writers who conquered obstacles throughout their lives. Her life is not immune from annoying little brothers, family drama, coaches to impress, and competitive thoughts, but in the end, she calls the journey a win! Readers will enjoy Gabby’s humor, doodles, and realness in her writing. She even has some sportscasters in her mind that share some great, and sometimes embarrassing re-plays.