Recently I rated two of JM's books 2 stars mainly because they were written in the present tense, and I found them really difficult to read.Thankfully this story isn't.Again, if you're looking for a synopsis, look elsewhere, LOL.One of the best things I liked about "Stepping up to the Plate" was the description of the setting. Not being from the US, I have no idea if Petersburg is a real place. The town Snyder wrote about is a believable, however, with its black lower class ghetto, complete with dilapidated and abandoned public buildings and other areas of soulless white suburbia.As in "Power Play", her main POV character is young. In this case the story covers the years 16 to twenty. He's not a pleasant character in many ways, mainly due to the way life and the people around him have treated him. The chip on his shoulder cuts close to the bone. JM Snyder draws these rebellious, unhappy characters well. They cuss, they swear at their mothers (even though they're trying to help them) and at times they break the law.If I have one criticism of the book, it's that having drawn Stacy's character so successfully, when he finally finds someone he respects and who he feels cares about him, he suddenly becomes much more "normal". It's like a switch has been flipped. Perhaps that change can happen in real life. It would be nice to think so.Despite this small niggle, I gave the book five stars because of the courage JM shows in writing about such flawed characters. Despite their faults you still end up caring for them and hoping they have a happy life or at least that their life significantly improves.