by Pete Liebengood

"What do a bunch of women know about running a baseball team?"

Former pro-athlete Rachel Haslett is given a class A, minor league baseball team by her father, a hard-driving, successful businessman. She is determined to find success with the team and to shake things up by hiring an all-female staff and marketing the team with a sexy logo and ad campaign called Honeyball that proves controversial. As she struggles to overcome the doubts of the community and baseball fans, she also must overcome her own character flaws and family dysfunction that threaten to be her downfall and the team’s demise. Her father’s sudden death in a plane crash adds to the mounting pressure in her life, especially when she begins to suspect foul play.

Liebengood portrays America’s pastime with a relevant and timely story that explores weighty social issues like sexism, women in sports, and sexual assault. Score updates and play-by-play reports track the season and the team’s successes and failures alongside Rachel’s personal journey to break down gender barriers in sports while also finding love. Rachel is a sharply realized character who is fearless and flawed, determined and vulnerable, competitive and hot-tempered. Through Rachel’s experience, Liebengood develops strong themes focused on gender issues. Many perspectives on these issues are provided through a wide range of supporting characters who weigh in with opinions about women on the sidelines, in the front office, and on the field in the men’s leagues.

As with all exceptional sports fiction, the book is about more than just the game. It is also about the human experience and the issues that impact people’s lives. The tone is not heavy-handed despite the serious issues the book tackles. The game seems always in the background, breaking the tension with updates and highlights of home runs, strikeouts, base running, and flyballs.

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