Ah, yes, back I go to the land of Pippa Grant, which I imagine is full of unicorns, cotton candy, baseball pants, inappropriate sausages in buns and athletic talent! Do you smell popcorn and cracker jacks? Well you should cause we’re on winter break with the Fireballs baseball team, in Shipwreck, with Cooper Rock and his buddies. Most notably Max Cole who is our grumpy hero.
First, I love this story and the the author’s writing talent. It’s always a lot of laughs, a nice storyline that has a message and the message in The Grumpy Player Next Door put a spotlight on childhood trauma, resilience and anxiety. The anxiety part is well handled as Max has anxiety and he’s being treated for it, so, it’s there but being managed. And the author handles this perfectly as usual. The childhood trauma is handled really well and we’re with Max as he wrestles with being good enough for Tilly Jean.
This book brings all of the laughs with winter prank wars and the eclectic cast of Ship Wreck characters we normally encounter in a Pippa Grant novel. There’s even a foul mouthed parrot.
Tilly Jean Rock is our heroine and she’s a little stuck in her life. Outwardly she appears content, however, she’s pretty rooted in Shipwreck and really can’t see herself moving away. Her family is there, comfort in her routine is there, but she’s having trouble figuring out what to do with her life.
Max doesn’t have family and baseball is everything to him and has been since he was a child. He’s overcome a lot and has worked hard to be one of the best starting pitchers in the league. He’s an ace who brought the rank of the Fireballs up, so he’s feeling some pressure for the upcoming season. He counts Cooper Rock as one of his best friends and Cooper is protective of both Max and Tilly Jean. Cooper doesn’t want them together but it goes a lot deeper than a brother protecting his sister.
Max and Tilly Jean dance around each other, start up then stall a lot of times, but this story does take place in Shipwreck! This was a 5 star read for me, with a whole lot to love, laugh and enjoy. I’m never disappointed with a Pippa Grant book, and The Growly Player Next Door is perfect summer reading!