Team Players

Team Players

(Part of Home Team)
For Ages: 8 - 12
Cassie must learn that you can’t “fix” someone else after a girl with Aspergers joins her softball team in the fourth and final book of the Home Team series from New York Times bestselling author and sports-writing legend Mike Lupica.

Cassie Bennett is great at being in charge. She always knows what to do to lead her teams to victory, keep her many groups of friends together, or fix any problem that comes her way. So when Sarah Milligan, an autistic girl with unreal softball skills, joins Cassie’s team, Cassie’s sure she can help her fit in with the team.

But before long it’s obvious that being around so many people is really hard for Sarah, and the more Cassie tries to reach out and involve her, the more Sarah pushes her away, sometimes literally. It doesn’t help that Cassie’s teammates aren’t as interested in helping Sarah as they are in making sure they make it to the new softball All-Star Tournament that’ll be televised just like the Little League World Series.

Soon no one besides Cassie seems to even want Sarah on the team anymore, and the harder Cassie tries to bring everyone together, the worse things seem to get. Cassie Bennett never backs down from a challenge, but can she realize that maybe the challenge isn’t fixing a problem in someone else, but in herself? Or will her stubbornness lead her to lose more than just softball games?
  • Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | 
  • 320 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781481410083 | 
  • April 2019 | 
  • Grades 3 - 7
List Price
AU$ 11.99
NZ$ 14.99


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Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide to

Team Players

By Mike Lupica

About the Book

As an outstanding athlete and leader, Cassie has always had lots of friends. She’s felt right at home on her softball team where the other girls like and respect her. But everything changes the summer before high school when Cassie tries to befriend Sarah, a talented new teammate who has autism. Others on the team reject Sarah as odd and awkward, and they shun Cassie after she stands up for the new girl. Fortunately, Cassie can still count on her trio of close friends: Jack, Teddy, and Gus. She’s there for them when their baseball coach proves to be disastrous, and they have her back when Cassie finds herself, for the first time ever, as a lonely outsider in the sport she loves best.

Discussion Questions

1. Why does the author open with such a short chapter? What does the chapter foreshadow about the rest of the book? Analyze why the book is divided into three sections: Before the Season, During the Season, and After the Season.

2. What’s Cassie like as a person? What’s she like as an athlete? Describe her best friends and their friendships with Cassie. How do they help her through her difficulties?

3. Cassie’s father is the coach of her softball team. What’s their relationship like? Explain why he tells her, “‘I’ve never been prouder of you than I have see more

More Books from this Author

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About the Author

Mike Lupica
Photo by Taylor McKelvy Lupica

Mike Lupica

Mike Lupica is the author of multiple bestselling books for young readers, including the Home Team series, QB 1HeatTravel TeamMillion-Dollar Throw, and The Underdogs. He has carved out a niche as the sporting world’s finest storyteller. Mike lives in Connecticut with his wife and their four children. When not writing novels, he writes for Daily News (New York) and is an award-winning sports commentator. You can visit Mike Lupica at