Hit & Miss

Book review by
Kyle Jackson, Common Sense Media
Hit & Miss Book Poster Image
Young Jeter inches closer to his dreams in strong sequel.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Accurately portrays Little League and the ups and downs of elementary school social life.

Positive Messages

Reach out to a new classmate, knowing how hard it can be for some people to fit in. Work hard in school and sports. Behave respectfully on and off the field. Follow your dreams. Be a good role model for your younger siblings.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Derek holds firm in his commitment to his "contract" (established in the first book in the series) to conduct himself respectfully on and off the field and to set a good example for his little sister. Derek's supportive parents stress the importance of schoolwork, and Derek's competitive spirit drives him to compete with his rival Gary for the best test scores. His kindness, thoughtfulness, and intense desire to win make him an ideal sports hero.

Violence & Scariness

Derek loses his cool and confronts a bully several years younger than himself, shoving him in the chest and making him cry. However, this clear breach of his contract with his parents is thoroughly punished and used as an example of how not to deal with a problem.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hit & Miss is a solid sequel to the excellent series start The Contract, continuing the story of future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter's journey through childhood and Little League and his precocious quest to be a Yankee great. Now age 9, Derek begins to understand the value of his supportive family, his diverse group of friends, and his steadfast commitment to his athletic pursuits.

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What's the story?

HIT & MISS is the second book in a 10-part series documenting baseball great Derek Jeter's childhood and Little League career, following Jeter's 2014 middle-grade fiction debut, The Contract. Last season, young Derek was disappointed with his coach and the team's performance, though he made personal strides. Picking up where the first book left off, Derek, now 9 years old, is much more excited by the opportunity to star this season as shortstop on a solid team filled with his friends. However, he has to learn how to overcome adversity within his friend group as well as in his home life, in addition to experiencing a nasty hitting slump to start the season. Derek hits his stride in the classroom and on the field; reaches out to a new classmate, who becomes a friend; confronts a bully; and puts his team in a position to play for a championship. His game and his character are still works in progress, but with the love and commitment of his parents and his passion for baseball, it's clear he's on the right track.

Is it any good?

A compelling and positive coming-of-age tale, Hit & Miss is perfect for kids and tweens who play sports, though its protagonist is a great role model for any ambitious young person. It's interesting to watch Derek get older and more mature both as a star and leader on his team and as a big brother and classmate.

Issues of class, race, and teen angst are hinted at, not seeming to cloud Jeter's mind at such a young age, though the books seem to be setting up future installments that may deal with heavier issues. For now, Derek is infatuated with his love of the game and the pursuit of his life's dream, and that's a joy and an inspiration to behold. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the challenge of making friends after moving to a new town or school. How can you reach out to someone struggling to find friends?

  • Derek's buddy Dave is extremely well-off, but they find that they have a lot more in common than either of them expected. Why is it important not to judge a book by its cover?

  • Even though he was standing up for his sister, Derek chose the wrong approach to dealing with his sister Sharlee's problem. How should he have handled her bully?

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For kids who love sports and competition

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