The Story behind the Story
Fenway Fever Book Trailer
and Parent Resources
- From Kirkus Reviews:
Beneath “all the festivity and hooplicity” for the 100th anniversary of Boston’s Fenway Park looms a calamity no one seems to notice, but a 12-year-old fan and an oddball starting pitcher step up to the plate.
The Curse of the Bambino, the 86-year curse that kept the Red Sox from winning the World Series until 2004 and again in 2007, is back. Early in the 2012 season, the Sox have gone from four games in front of the Yankees to one game back, in just 10 days. “We’re not that bad of a team, Stat Man. Something else is going on,” says pitcher Billee Orbitt to Stats Pagano, a young hot-dog vendor and statistics guru. There’s always enchantment at Fenway Park, but there’s more than magic afoot, or afloat, in Ritter’s life-affirming and tear-jerking new baseball novel. Ritter is a master at capturing the nuances of the game and infusing its magic into his tales. Here, Billee figures out that “It’s not the ball park that’s out of whack. It’s not even the team. It’s the balance of nature. It’s the chi,” and Billee and Stats set out to restore the proper lines of energy through the sacred grounds of Fenway Park and make the Red Sox winners again.
A surefire winner, full of energy and wonder.
- From International Reading Association's Reading Today Online:
Baseball fans and those who root for the underdog will love this book, perfect for a summer’s day. The plot revolves around Stats Pagano, born with a heart defect, and his Boston family, all rabid Boston Red Sox fans. The family has had season tickets to the Red Sox games for 72 years, and they run a concession stand, selling hot dogs at the games. The team heads into a losing streak, and Stats's favorite baseball player, pitcher Billee Orbitt, is removed from the team’s roster for a brief time. Billee and Stats figure that too much is going wrong for it to be a coincidence. Certain that the harmony of Fenway Park has been disrupted, the two take steps to put things back into the proper order so that the Sox will win again. After all, if the baseball team isn’t winning, nothing in Stats's world can be right. Call them coincidences or call them miracles, but things suddenly start turning around for Billee and the Sox and even for Stats. Love for the sport dubbed “America’s pastime” fills the book’s pages, reminding readers what the game of baseball is really all about. With its moments of pathos, heroism, mysticism, and wonder from a master craftsman, this seamlessly-written book will make readers believe in all sorts of miracles and maybe prompt a trip to the ballpark.
- From Boston Parents Paper:
Get a jump start on Fenway Park's centennial season with Fenway Fever (Philomel/Penguin, 2012), a brand new young adult novel by award-winning baseball novelist John Ritter.
The book opens at the start of the 2012 season. Red Sox Nation is abuzz with excitement as the beloved baseball park celebrates its big birthday. There's no more passionate fan than Alfredo "Stats" Pagano, the 12-year-old whiz kid who is the hero of the story. Born with a heart defect that stunted his growth, Stats towers with his mastery of numbers—especially baseball statistics.
Stats and his older brother, Mark, help their father at Papa Pagano's Red Sox Red Hots hot dog stand. The trio strike up a friendship with the young ace pitcher, Billee "Spacebird" Orbitt, an offbeat character who wows fans with his 93-mph pitching and on-the-field antics.
Only six weeks into the season, Billee is worried that the Curse of the Bambino may be back and turns to Stats to help him figure out the cosmic mystery. Fans of Ritter's other baseball stories will not be surprised that Fenway Fever delivers a fun-filled adventure and a heartwarming story of friendship, family, hope, and courage.
Born and raised in San Diego, and a lifelong Padres fan, Ritter believes that the love of baseball transcends hometown loyalties. "Fenway Park is the love of baseball itself," he says. While a few may have tried to replace it over the decades, the "Grand Dame" still stands.
- From MLB Reports:
"Beautiful victories and crushing defeats. That is baseball. Anything can happen. But sometimes we imagine that more can come into play. With that baseball imagination in place, get ready to enjoy Fenway Fever. An excellent baseball read that the whole family can enjoy. In this modern world of ours, that is a rarity…and a home run."
For the full review, go to MLB Reports.
- From Susan Richards, FenwayNation.com:
Geared towards readers aged 9 to 12 years, this book really is a treat for readers of all ages. Although baseball is a major focus, Ritter combines the genres of family drama, fantasy and mystery to create this delightful, page-turner of a story.
The plot revolves around 12-year-old Alfredo Pagano, otherwise known as "Stats" because of his love of all the baseball data he avidly collects. He has inherited a genetic heart condition which has stunted his growth and prevented him from actually playing the sport he so loves. He works at his family's hot dog stand outside Fenway alongside his father, "Pops," and older brother Mark. The death of his mother, a couple years earlier, has severely impacted all three members of the family.
Ritter combines several plot lines. Will the troubled hotdog stand survive? Will Mark make the youth All-Star Game that is taking place in Fenway Park? How will Stats deal with his worsening heart condition?... And finally, can Stats and his good friend, Red Sox pitcher, Billee "Spacebird" Orbitt discover what the new Red Sox curse is and reverse it in time to stop the latest Sox team decline?
With the 100th anniversary of Fenway celebration as a backdrop, all these plot questions are very satisfyingly explored and ultimately answered with the help of a cast of appealing (and often very quirky) characters and yes....even a little magic.
- From Peter Abrahams, lifelong Red Sox fan and New York Times bestselling author:
"A funny, exciting, original, and heart-warming novel that even readers who aren't Red Sox fans
- From the Western New York Family Magazine:
Fenway Fever by John H. Ritter is another riveting book that will engage and inspire the reader.