“Ace on the Hill” by JC Wesslen

“Ace on the Hill” by JC Wesslen 683 1024 Reader Views Kids

Ace on the Hill

JC Wesslen
Independently Published (2023)
ISBN:  979-8398378177
Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Reader Views (11/2023)

“Ace on the Hill” by award-winning JC Wesslen is an absorbing coming-of-age novel about Jay Zimmerman, a young man with a lot of heart and imagination who is also impressionable. He’s not used to being grounded in one place, but when the family moves to Boston in 1975, he has to learn about his new life here and how to fit in, since he’s about to become a teen. Even though he has ups and downs, he finds new friends at the ballfield, especially with Paul, who is the leader, of sorts. They share a close friendship and a love for Boston, including the Red Sox.

It isn’t long until Jay experiences the highs and lows of teen life; a first crush, family secrets, pressure from friends, and loss. Jay grows a little bitter, rather than rely on his family or his faith, because of the negative aspects of human nature. This prompts him to question his future and how, or if, he will ever fit in. However, a chance at romance arrives and adds a new, hopeful dimension to his life, even helping him return to another passion, baseball.

Wesslen brings us a character-driven young adult novel that is engaging and encourages possibility. I like the character of Jay and the relationships he forms. You get to experience his character arcs, as he is definitely not a one-dimensional character. The author captures what it’s like to change and grow through adolescence. One takeaway that will most likely resonate with reading audiences is that he realizes that his future is up to him and that he has choices that can get him closer to his wants. You will root for him when he makes his decisions.

Baseball is a game, but there is a game called life too, and it’s interesting to see how he plays both. The dialogue is natural, the pace is perfect, and it has a flavor of yesteryear. There are some serious themes threaded through the story, but the author handles them with a light, professional touch, and keeps the flow of the story moving along. A sense of humor and emotional layers add other dimensions to the novel, and by the end, you feel as if you’ve been watching a movie. If you want a feel-good book with a cinematic feel, “Ace on the Hill” by JC Wesslen should be at the top of your list.

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