Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Heat Book Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Engaging story about a pitching prodigy.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 12 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 32 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Positive themes of loving family and friends and overcoming odds. Some lying and dishonest actions, but for good reason.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The boys, and their adult friends, lie to the authorities. Carlos scalps tickets. A rival player makes racist remarks.


Fast food (McDonalds), candy, cookie, clothing, and drink brands mentioned approvingly.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there's not much to be concerned about here: some lying, though for good reasons; some dishonest actions, with lessons learned; and some products (including food brands) mentioned approvingly.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bynyypride132 April 9, 2008

great book

i really liked this book i think it is a must read for any baseball fan or even any kid 8 and up
Adult Written byA/R Mom June 2, 2011

The Heat is a great Lesson Too!

My son read this book for his a/r goal at school. He had a couple of issues himself at school about being nervous before a performance and made up a little whi... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byCM2017 December 14, 2016

Greatest Book I Have Ever Read

I thoroughly enjoyed Heat written by Mike Lupica, who writes other sport books like this one. It kept my attention the whole time and was one of the few books t... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byMyJ July 27, 2020

One of my favorite baseball books

Starting from Michael Arroyo living only with his brother secretly, this book had a lot events going on, which made the book not boring but exciting in every ch... Continue reading

What's the story?

Michael, an unusually talented 12-year-old pitcher on his Little League team, has a lot going on at home that only his best friend Manny and the kindly lady upstairs in his apartment building, Mrs. C., know about. Born in Cuba, Michael lost his mother to cancer when he was very young. His father brought Michael and his brother Carlos to America with the hope of seeing Michael pitch in the Little League World Series. Now his father is dead too, and and he and Carlos are trying to keep it a secret until Carlos, just months shy of his 18th birthday, can legally assume custody of Michael. But Children's Services are getting suspicious, and a rival coach and player have accused Michael of being older than he claims, causing him to be suspended until he can find proof. Something needs to go right -- and soon.

Is it any good?

Even with all life's hardships and heartbreak, this book reaffirms that it's still a beautiful world. It sounds like a classic setup at first: poor, orphaned, but surprisingly cheerful and well-adjusted boy triumphs -- with the help of family love and good friends -- over insurmountable odds, including the devious, mean rich coach of the rival team and his spoiled son. It's a cliché from start to finish, right? So why doesn't it feel that way?

Partly, it's because sportswriter Mike Lupica's muscular prose shines on the ballfield. Partly, it's because the author knows that a truly satisfying ending has nothing to do with winning a ballgame. And, partly, it's because clichés get used a lot because they work. It's precisely the familiarity, the predictability, and the lack of realism that make this so affecting.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Michael's situation. What would you do in his place? Why did he treat Ellie the way he did? Why does his pitching talent cause others to do so much for him?

  • Also, were Justin's and his father's actions in any way justified?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sports

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