Book Report: Our highly scientific analysis of a book, from the characters to the writing style to the swoon. See More...
There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom!: A member of the male species dares to step foot into our YA world. See More...

Completely Useless By September

Margo Dill's Caught Between Two Curses. Fans of the Chicago Cubs are dying from a mysterious curse. You say that like it's a bad thing.

Completely Useless By September

BOOK REPORT for Caught Between Two Curses by Margo Dill

Cover Story: Giant Goofy Teen Faces
Drinking Buddy: Getcher Ice Cold Beer!
Testosterone Level: Did I Mention This Was About the Cubs?
Talky Talk: Dozens of People are Waiting to See the Game
Bonus Factors: Adult Illiteracy, Curse of the Billy Goat
Bromance Status: Loveable Loser

Cover Story: Giant Goofy Teen Faces

I know, I know, but at least they're not looking deeply into each other's eyes, or kissing, shot from the nose down. These kids look like they could have gone to my high school, instead of the fancy pants modeling school which I'm convinced exists somewhere.

The Deal:

So when Julie tells her boyfriend Gus that she's not ready to have sex, he totally respects that and backs off.

No, of course he doesn't. He immediately dumps her and hooks up with some other girl. Then he comes crawling back.

Julie, however, has bigger problems. You see, her parents died years ago and she's been raised by her aunt Lizzie and uncle Henri. And now Henri has slipped into a coma while watching a Cubs game. Unlike most Cubs fans, he doesn't wake up when the game's over.

Enter Julie's mysterious grandmother. She claims that Henri's illness is the result of a family curse that started years ago, when she stole Julie's grandfather away from his fiancée at a Cubs game. Now every man in the family will die before the age of 35. Julie's grandfather did. Her parents did. And Henri will turn 35 in a few months.

How can Julie break this curse?

Drinking Buddy: Getcher Ice Cold Beer!

Julie is determined to break the curse, though she has absolutely know idea how to go about it. Like most curses, it has something to do with the Chicago Cubs, and she forces herself to attend the games.

Meanwhile, Gus is acting charming but she's not sure she wants to take him back. And her lifelong best friend, Matt, has flat-out said he wouldn't mind taking Gus's place.

But the curse is supposed to strike any man in the family, and that might include boyfriends. Gus wrecks his car when it's struck by a baseball. When Julie starts to notice Matt, he falls ill. Maybe she can't risk having a boy in her life.

Testosterone Level: Did I Mention This Was About the Cubs?

Wright Brothers Fly at Kitty Hawk: 1903

Cubs win their last World Series: 1908

Great War breaks out: 1914

There's a lot of creepy stuff going on in the wings, with baseballs flying out of nowhere and the grim specter of death hanging over Julie's family.

But they're Cubs fans. They're used to living in hell.

Talk Talk: Dozens of People are Waiting to See the Game

Dill does a great job of linking Julie's family curse to the cursed Chicago team. Can Julie and Matt stop the curse that is destroying her family? Will the Cubs go all the way this year?

Keep in mind, this is a work of pure fiction.

Hey, did you know Wrigley Field just celebrated its centennial? One of these centuries, they're going to win a playoff game there.

Bonus Factor: Adult Illiteracy

So the woman who originally cursed Julie's family sent Julie's grandma a cryptic message explaining how to end the curse. But grandma never acted on it. Why not? Because she can't read. Not a word.

Fortunately, Matt volunteers to teach her. Because he's a nice guy. No ulterior motive.

Bonus Factor: Curse of the Billy Goat

So the brother of the woman who cursed Julie's family was the man who cursed the Cubs. In 1945, after he and his goat were kicked out of a Cubs game, he cursed the team, saying they would never win again. That was 1945, 37 years after their last World Series victory. But hey, it's easy to make excuses, isn't it?

Bromance Status: Loveable Loser

Nothing like kicking back in the bleachers on a warm summer's day and enjoying this book, without an exciting baseball game to distract you.

Go Cardinals.

Brian Katcher's photo About the Author: Brian Katcher wrote his first YA novel when he was down and out in Mexico. He now lives in Missouri with his wonderful wife and daughter. He divides his time between writing and working as a school librarian. Brian still misses the preachy YA books of the eighties.