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Reviewed by Jessica Barbosa for Readers' Favorite
Barrett Wentworth started his life privileged. His mom and dad were exceedingly generous with their funds but sparing with their time. An untimely accident leaves him an orphan, with only his Aunt Evelyn as his guardian. During his years staying with her and being subjected to her strict tough love, Barrett meets the love of his young life, Charlotte. After Aunt Evelyn passes away, Barrett settles his parents' and aunt’s estates, eager for a fresh new start with Charlotte. However, life rarely goes the way you expect it to and a devastating tragedy finds Barrett in the small and forgotten town of Lackton, Oklahoma. Here he starts a job in the sawmill and joins the coaching staff for a baseball team of young boys. He meets various people who help mend his broken heart. Read the heartwarming tale, The Center Bench All-Star by Brian D. Campbell!
The Center Bench All-Star by Brian D. Campbell captured my interest from the very first chapter. I read about this well-off young man looking for a place where no one would dream of finding him and it made me wonder if he was a fugitive, running away from law enforcement or if he was running away from something else. As I went through his various interactions with so many distinctive and interesting characters like Miss Tammy, our sweet boy, Pip, and many others, I grew more and more curious about the reason why Barrett gave up a seemingly perfect life to disappear into this unknown town. Once I found out the reason for it, I was heartbroken. Barrett’s life in Lackton, Oklahoma is a journey of heartbreak, grief, and healing. Pippen “Pip” Hammond plays a big part in Barrett’s healing and I was constantly amazed by their unusual friendship. Pip is an admirable character who does his best and touches the lives of the people around him in small ways but with big results.
The Center Bench All-Star is an uplifting tale that taught me the values of friendship and family and the importance of allowing yourself to heal after grieving. Its easy pace and captivating storyline are a satisfying combination that kept my attention right to the very end. The way the characters interact with each other, their visible flaws, and their realistic approach to life gave this story a solid foundation and brought out the best parts of the plot. Great job!