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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Safe at Home is a baseball adventure novel for young adults and preteens written by Gregory Saur. Dominic Lewis had a dream. He actually had a few dreams, despite the difficulties he’d experienced in his short life. His mom worked two jobs to support him, his little sister, and Mack, her layabout boyfriend, who was making Dom’s life an enduring misery. He was considered an outcast at school, partly because he wore ragged, unclean clothes and needed a haircut, but also because his angry outbursts had caused school personnel to label him as ED, emotionally disturbed. Everything had been different when his dad was alive, but he had died in a car accident seven years earlier when Dominic was three. Dominic’s biggest dream was to play a sport; his mom knew about that and somehow she managed to get Coach Wells on board with her plan.
Gregory Saur’s Safe at Home is a taut and beautifully written story about an abused child whose life turns around when Coach Ben Wells takes a chance on the kid no other sports coach wanted. Along the way, the reader gets to see how his four friends and Dominic come of age as they learn to work as a team. I love baseball stories and find the strategies behind pitching and play to be endlessly fascinating. The hardest part of reading this book was remembering that these kids are only ten. Saur makes each game as tense, exciting, and action-packed as any story featuring adults or teens I’ve read. I shared Dominic’s story and the amazing character who is Coach Ben Wells. I’m sure there are a few coaches like him out there, and I’m hoping kids appreciate them as much as the boys in this story do. Saur’s plot is engaging, and his story is one that’s awfully hard to put down. His characters are true-to-life; kids and adults you come to care about. And the baseball had me remembering watching games on Saturday afternoons when I was about Jimmy’s age. Safe at Home is most highly recommended.