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Three Strike Summer

Three Strike Summer by Skyler Schrempp


Readability Age Range



Year Published

Book Review

As the Great Depression ravages the country, Gloria Mae Willard wants nothing more than to play on the baseball team and watch the wheat grow in her family’s fields. But the wind carries those dreams away like the dust that covers every inch of Oklahoma.

Plot Summary

If Gloria Mae Willard had her way, she’d give the bank man a piece of her mind. She’d scream and yell and fight until he left the farm alone and gave them a little more time.

But Gloria doesn’t usually get her way. That means that she and her family are all packed in a truck headed to California, desperate to escape the Dust Bowl and find work while the Great Depression rages.

Of course, the bank man got a rock through the window of his truck as a goodbye present first.

The family finds jobs at the Santa Ana Holdsten Peach Orchard. The pay is terrible and the conditions are horrible. Anyone who eats the product will be punished, and anyone who tries to organize a union will face the wrath of the owners and police alike.

In all of this hardship, Gloria finds a bright spot: The boys at the orchard have a baseball team. The boys back in Balko, Oklahoma never let her play, no matter how much she begged. But this team might be different. The peach orchard team has played the apricot orchard team every Sunday for weeks and never won. Gloria realizes that they just might be desperate enough to let a girl on their team—if she can pitch well enough to ensure victory.

As the team’s leader and pitcher, Terrance wants no part of a girl on the team, especially one taking his position. But when the front gate is locked tight because of the union threat, leaving the team no way to reach the field, Gloria presents them with a choice. Either they let her on the team in exchange for information on how to get out of the orchard, or they lose their last chance to beat the apricot team.

Christian Beliefs

God, prayer and church are mentioned. Gloria isn’t sure that God is listening because of all the bad things happening to her family. She prays one night to fall asleep quickly.

Other Belief Systems


Authority Roles

Gloria’s parents are grieving and worried for most of the book. They love their daughters, punishing them when necessary but also giving grace when needed. Terrance’s mom left his family and his dad drinks heavily. The men in charge at the orchard abuse and flaunt their authority. They name-call when workers consider striking or demand better pay and working conditions.

Profanity & Violence

Cussing is mentioned, and Gloria takes the Lord’s name in vain once. Gloria’s little brother, baby Si, died from inhaling the dust. Gloria throws a rock through the bank man’s car window.

Some characters smoke, and drunkenness is mentioned. Police hit a man in the head with a club because he was trying to get workers to strike. A boy falls from a ladder and is injured, ending up in a coma.

Sexual Content


Discussion Topics

Because of all the bad things that have happened to her family, Gloria wonders if God is really listening. Do you ever wonder if God is listening? Read 1 John 5:14-15. What does the Bible say about God hearing us?

Gloria’s ma says that pride makes people do funny things. Read Proverbs 11:2, 29:23 and James 4:6. What does God think about pride? Why is humility important?

What is honor? Why does Gloria’s ma say she’d rather Gloria have honor than pride?

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Additional Comments

Three Strike Summer is story-driven historical fiction that fans of the genre will love. Gloria is a relatable, interesting character told in a fantastic voice. The book offers important lessons about the power of family and the importance of doing what’s right even in difficult circumstances.

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not necessarily their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book’s review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Review by Rachel Pfeiffer