I just had lunch with Alan Gratz. His new YA, "Samurai Shortstop," comes out Thursday (Dial). I got to read an ARC, and can I tell y'all - it is WONDERFUL. It is so well written and so well researched. It's placed in Japan during their industrial revolution, which happened kind of all at once vs. the day by day changes in the west. There was some serious culture shock at the time, with the dying era of the Samurai and the embracing of all things western, including baseball. The story is told through the eyes of a young private school boy who's father and uncle are both Samurai. In fact, the story opens with his uncle commiting seppuku - grabs you immediately! I learned about an interesting time in history while enjoying what is essentially a classic "baseball story" in reading Samurai Shortstop. Alan is a talented writer and I recommend the book highly. Go buy it (click the cover)!!
Oh, and visit Alan's groovy website HERE.