Summary: Fox Point’s Own Gemma Hopper
Fox Point’s Own Gemma Hopper follows 7th grader Gemma Hopper whose mother has left their family. Gemma lives with her dad, older brother Teddy, and their twin younger brothers. While their dad works overtime to fend for the family materially, Gemma is saddled with caring for the home and her twin siblings while also serving as a ball machine/practice partner for her brother, who’s a baseball prodigy of sorts. Understandably, she’s tired and frustrated sometimes.
Her schoolwork is also proving a bit challenging. This school year, her teacher has asked their class to create a family tree project, which Gemma is not thrilled about because of her mother. One day, while practicing with Teddy, she strikes him out with two impressive pitches, capturing the attention of some scouts from a competitive baseball team. All of sudden, Gemma now also has star potential. Can both siblings find a way to work together? And can Gemma get through the family tree project?
A lot was happening in this graphic novel. Gemma is a busy girl — not by choice — and I felt for her and all the responsibilities she had to handle at age 12. Her brother is a tad annoying, as most 14-year-old small-town semi-celebrities would be. He thinks everyone else’s life should revolve around building his burgeoning career. I was very pleased when Gemma started to get some attention too.
Gemma’s school project is stressful because her mother left their family (something that isn’t too common — fathers are more likely to leave). She’s ashamed of and misses her mother all at once — all of which are normal, complicated emotions. But she can’t lie in her report because her teacher has taught several members of her family, so she has to find a unique angle to share about her family. She chooses baseball since it’s an integral part of their family.
Finally, it was nice to see both siblings work together, and I liked seeing Teddy step up and redeem himself as a brother and character. The illustration style in this book was interesting. It gave the book an old-timey feel, and I kept feeling like I was reading historical fiction, but it wasn’t. The story also leaves plenty of loose ends, so I’m hoping we get a sequel to learn more.
Overall: Fox Point’s Own Gemma Hopper
Fox Point’s Own Gemma Hopper is an engaging graphic novel about family (absent mothers), baseball, and sibling relationships. Although the plot and ending could be more satisfying, it develops many important themes, including making kids overly responsible, social media and going viral, and the grief of being left behind by a parent and yearning for their return. Fans of sports graphic novels and middle grade baseball books will love this one.