Monday, August 24, 2015

Review: The Joyville Sweat Sox by Linda Fausnet

by Linda Fausnet
Wannabe Pride
Middle Grade Fiction
134 pages
ages 8+

It's against the law to get mad in Joyville. Will Konnie Mack be able to coach a ragtag team of kids who are clueless about baseball without completely losing her cool? 

Twenty-one-year-old Konnie has broken the No Anger law for the third time. She has two choices for punishment: coach Joyville's Little League baseball team for the summer, or spend five years in jail. 

Konnie used to be the best baseball player in town, but she hasn't played the game she loves since she was sixteen. That was the year Bobby Hearsay stole Joyville's team in the middle of the night. It was also the year her father died. 

The current team includes the likes of Clueless Joe Jackson, Joltin' Joanna Demargio, and Carl Repkin, Jr. Keeping her temper in check with these kids won't be easy, and it’s going to be nearly impossible for this bunch to win any games. But Konnie has no choice. Getting mad will land her in the slammer, and her punishment for losing will be far worse than any jail sentence. She will be banished from playing baseball forever….


I love getting my hands on books for kids which include sports. . . there's simply not enough of them around. So when I was offered to review The Joyville Sweat Sox, I was thrilled.

Konnie was a great baseball player when she was sixteen but like many people into sports, tended to let her excitement get the best of her. In other words, she has a bad temper. The first scene has Konnie sitting in a courtroom, waiting to hear the verdict of a ridiculous judge. In Joyville, no one is allowed to get angry and since Konnie has done this three times, she's now facing five years of jail.

This story has an interesting twist of reality with a bit of fantasy thrown in. Each town has it's own funny name (Joyville, Cranksville, etc.) and the players are given even funnier names (Catfish Punter or Clueless Joe Jackson). When Konnie meets the kids she's to coach for the first time, the situation is hilarious. The author definitely knows how to pack in the humor, and kids are sure to laugh their heads off.

But this isn't all fun and games. There are some important and serious messages buried in the pages, ones that kids will never hear enough of. The players learn (as well as Konnie) that a name does not define the person. Even when placed against terrible odds, the players stay true to themselves--a great inspiration.

The only thing that bothered me about this book was the main character. Although the language and writing fit very well to a middle grade audience, the main character herself is not someone kids will easily be able to relate to. The author does a great job giving Konnie a personality kids will understand, but there are still adult view points making it difficult for kids to completely sympathize with her. And the children on the team are held at arm's length, not giving a close enough impression for kids to sympathize with them either.

Still, there's a lot to appreciate in this story and kids will still find it fun to read.

And here she is. . .

Linda Fausnet is the author of several books, mostly adult fiction. She has also written numerous screenplays of various genres. Two of her scripts have been optioned by production companies in Los Angeles; Mega Films, Inc. and Runaway Productions. Her screenplay, QUEEN HENRY, was a Finalist in the national Progress Writers Competition. Linda runs an educational and promotional website for indie writers at

Twitter - @lindafausnet

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