Works of Fiction by Thatcher Heldring

Published by Penguin Random House 


my story

Growing up, sports and books were two major influences in my life. As a kid, I played a bit of everything: baseball, soccer, tennis, and basketball. Through sports, I gained confidence through success and learned through defeat that things would not always turn out the way I wanted them to. These lessons were as valuable as the lessons I learned through books, except the scrapes on my knees and elbows were mine. But now I am writing books about sports, and drawing on the memories of those scrapes every day.


Toby Wheeler Eighth-Grade Benchwarmer

When Toby Wheeler has a chance to join the junior high basketball team, he’s eager to prove he can keep up with his best friend, JJ. But practice doesn’t go quite as Toby has planned, and when the coach announces the lineup, Toby’s hopes of playing ball with JJ are history: he’s an eighth-grade benchwarmer!

Praise for Toby Wheeler:

“A truly great basketball story. Every hoops fan will love this book.” - Phil Jackson, member of the NBA Hall of Fame

“Engaging...will appeal to readers who are looking for something one step beyond Matt Christopher books.” - School Library Journal

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Roy Morelli Steps Up to the Plate

Eighth-grader Roy Morelli can’t wait for baseball season to start so he can take his rightful place as shortstop for the Pilchuk All-Star team. Being on the All-Stars is just the warm-up for the big leagues: the varsity baseball team at the high school Roy will go to next year. But when Roy’s divorced parents find out he’s failing history, they make him quit the All-Stars. It’s not his fault the only thing interesting about history class is Valerie Hopkins, and she won’t even give Roy the time of day.

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The summer before Caleb and Tessa enter high school, friendship has blossomed into a relationship . . . and their playful sports days are coming to an end. Caleb is getting ready to try out for the football team, and Tessa is training for cross-country.
But all their structured plans derail in the final flag game when they lose. Tessa doesn’t want to end her career as a loser. She really enjoys playing, and if she’s being honest, she likes it even more than running cross-country. So what if she decided to play football instead? What would happen between her and Caleb? Or between her two best friends, who are counting on her to try out for cross-country with them? And will her parents be upset that she’s decided to take her hobby to the next level? This summer Caleb and Tessa figure out just what it means to be a boyfriend, girlfriend, teammate, best friend, and someone worth cheering for.

Praise for the FootBall Girl:

"Heldring writes with insight and restraint, letting complicated feelings remain complicated." – Horn Book

"This is a great next choice for readers who have enjoyed Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s Dairy Queen and Miranda Kenneally’s Catching Jordan." – School Library Journal

"There’s enough fast-paced football action, realistic family drama, and sweet romance in this slim novel that readers looking for girl-powered sports stories should find plenty to like." – Booklist

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The League

Just when it seems that his football dreams are history, Wyatt's older brother, Aaron, makes an unexpected offer: If Wyatt ditches golf camp, he can play with Aaron in the League of Pain: the roughest and most secretive rogue football league in town. Now Wyatt has a choice. He can play by the rules like he always does, or he can follow his heart—even if it means lying to the people he cares about the most. But if Wyatt wants to play in the league, he must learn to accept the penalties.

Praise for the league

"With its focus on bullying, a first crush, changing friendships, and coming of age, this book is a solid choice for reluctant readers who also happen to love football." – School Library Journal

"Heldring’s latest novel conveys well the allure of contact sports, particularly tackle football, and the appeal of evasive tactics, particularly lying to your parents." – Booklist

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