Cover image for Over the wall
Over the wall
Ritter, John H., 1951-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : [Penguin], 2000.
Physical Description:
312 pages ; 22 cm
Thirteen-year-old Tyler, who has trouble controlling his anger, spends an important summer with his cousins in New York City, playing baseball and sorting out how he feels about violence, war, and in particular the Vietnamese conflict that took his grandfather's life.
General Note:
Publisher imprint varies.
Reading Level:
590 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.2 10.0 41560.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.4 17 Quiz: 23695 Guided reading level: NR.

Format :


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Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Young Adult
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Young Adult
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Reading List
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Reading List
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Reading List
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Reading List

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Anger is a bombshell exploding. And for 13-year-old Tyler, the baseball field has become a battlefield laced with landmines. He tries to watch his step, but every time he thinks he has his temper under control, boom!, he winds up in a fight. If he isn't careful, his dreams of making the All-Star team and being noticed by a scout are going to blow up as well. But Tyler's coach isn't about to let that happen A Vietnam War veteran, Coach Trioli has seen anger destroy enough people. He knows that Tyler is fighting a war that has no winner. And if Tyler is ever going to be the ballplayer he dreams of becoming, he'll have to learn to fight his battles with his glove, his bat, and his love for the game--not with his fists.John H. Ritter, author of the award-winning Choosing Up Sides, has written a powerful story about war, fair play, and one boy's struggle to find a middle ground.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 6^-10. Ten years after his father accidentally runs over and kills his baby sister, 14-year-old Tyler leaves his shattered family to live with relatives in New York and play on a baseball league in Central Park. Although he has athletic talent and passion enough to make the all-stars, he's a tempest whose flare-ups undermine his every success. His coach, a Vietnam veteran who knows the destructive effects of unchecked anger, attempts to help Tyler, but the boy soon realizes that only he can heal the wounds that have darkened his opinion of the world. Early in the novel Tyler is overwhelmed by bitterness, but thanks to guidance from his coach, he begins to understand himself and reconnect with his guilt-burdened father. Although sports fiction fans will find only occasional play-by-play action in this novel, they will be more than compensated by a fully fleshed-out story about compassion and absolution. --Roger Leslie

Publisher's Weekly Review

Ritter (Choosing Up Sides) again draws parallels between baseball and social issues as he explores the struggles of a 13-year-old boy on and off the field. There are many "walls" in Tyler's life: the outfield wall he dreams of clearing with a hard hit; the Vietnam monument bearing the name of his grandfather; and the invisible barrier Tyler's father has built around himself since the accidental death of Tyler's older sister nine years earlier. Spending the summer in New York City with his cousins, Tyler is determined to make an all-star baseball team. But Tyler's talent doesn't impress his coaches as much as his explosive temper does, and he is told to "shape up or ship out." Led by a tough but sensitive coach, a Vietnam vet, and by his pretty eighth-grader cousin, trained in "peer arbitration" at her private school, Tyler learns to control his anger and understand his so-called enemies. The author tackles tough subjects relating to violence in sports, religious hypocrisy and the Vietnam War while creating layers of metaphors that neatly unfold as the story progresses. Although Ritter stacks the deck a little obviously, his powerful lesson in compassion will likely reverberate for readers. Ages 10-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-9-John Ritter follows his critically acclaimed debut novel, Choosing Up Sides (Philomel, 1998), with Over the Wall (Philomel, 2000), a metaphorically complex treatment of the Vietnam War, emotional alienation, rage, and the catastrophic familial effects of a child's death, all of which are played out in the uniquely American crucible of a baseball field. Thirteen-year-old Tyler Waltern, leaves his mother and distant father, emotionally shattered since the accidental death of Tyler's older sister some nine years earlier, to spend the summer in New York City with his uncle, aunt, and cousins. Tyler's considerable athletic prowess on a Central Park Little League team is overshadowed by his propensity for uncontrollable temper tantrums. A firm but sympathetic coach, the attention and help from his sagacious teenage cousin Brina, and several pilgrimages to the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. contribute to Tyler's revelatory growth and redemption. Narrator Johnny Heller is superb and completely natural in his seamless boyish vocal execution of Tyler while also providing a mature dimension to the adult characters. An added bonus is the concluding interview with author who discusses, among other topics, the novel's multidimensional themes and structure. Imbued with passion, absolution, and grace, this beautiful story beautifully told is destined to become one of the year's best young adult audiobooks.-Barry X. Miller, Austin Public Library, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.