Published by: Albert Whitman & Company
Publication date: March 1st 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Henry “Biggie” Abbott is the son of one of Finch, Iowa ‘s most famous athletes. His father was a baseball legend and his step-dad is a close second. At an obese 300+ pounds though, Biggie himself prefers classroom success to sports. As a perfectionist, he doesn’t understand why someone would be happy getting two hits in five trips to the plate. “Forty percent, that’s an F in any class,” he would say. As Biggie’s junior year begins, the girl of his dreams, Annabelle Rivers, starts to flirt with him. Hundreds of people have told him to follow in his dad’s footsteps and play ball, but Annabelle might be the one to actually convince him to try. What happens when a boy who has spent his life since fourth grade trying to remain invisible is suddenly thrust into the harsh glare of the high school spotlight?
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People call me Biggie. Not all people. Mom and some teachers call me Henry, but for the most part, I’m Biggie.
Do I like the nickname? No. Of course, I don’t. Nor do I care much for Brian Burke, who, nine years ago, thought up the moniker when we were playing tag during second-grade recess. I should have just told him to shut up or said something mean in verbal retaliation, but I didn’t. I just stood there, head hung, shoulders fallen, hands swaying in the icy wind of early December.
It would have been so easy to fight back. He was tiny, wore the same ratty, torn Notre Dame T-shirt every day, and loved—and I mean loved—investigating the inside of his nose with his long fingernails.
That day, instead of getting caught up in the cherished elementary school game of I can be meaner than you, my lips locked. I stood there like some sap with my eyes focused on trampled snow, which was filled with small shoe prints from seven-year-olds avoiding the flailing arms of the kid who last heard, “You’re it.”
Even today, I can still remember that day nine years ago when everyone was laughing and snickering the first time Brian said my nickname out loud. Over time, the memory is more the background laughter of my classmates than Brian’s repetitive teasing of “You’re so big and fat, we should call you Biggie.” I learned that Friday that you didn’t need to be touched to get tagged.
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