The Prince of Fenway Park by P-HarpercollinsPubl


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									The Prince of Fenway Park
Author: Julianna Baggott

It's been eighty-six years since the Red Sox won a World Series. Eighty-six years cursed.Twelve-year-
old Oscar Egg be-lieves he is cursed, just like the Red Sox. His real parents didn't want him, and now his
adopted mom has dumped him off to live with his strange, sickly dad.But there's something Oscar
doesn't know. The Boston Red Sox really are cursed, and not just because they sold Babe Ruth in 1919.
Someone deliberately jinxed the team, and the secret to breaking the Curse lies deep below Fenway
Park, with Oscar's dad and the Cursed Creatures, a group that has been doomed to live out their
miserable lives below Fenway until the Curse is broken.Oscar knows he can be the one to break the
Curse, allowing the Red Sox to finally win the World Series and setting the Cursed Creatures free. But
some of the creatures are angry. Some don't want the Curse broken. Some want Oscar, and the Red
Sox, to fail and remain cursed forever.

The boy who would break the Curse didn't know that he was the boy who would break the Curse. He was
just himself, Oscar, who, at this particular moment on this particular day, was watching his mother, who
was standing beside her El Camino, caught in the dark exhaust fog at the end of the line of buses. The
school day was over. It had been an awful day, the kind that is so awful that it blots out everything else.
There was a bruise from a knuckle punch on Oscar's back that still throbbed, and that hadn't even been
the worst of it.Oscar knew about the Curse, of course. It seemed as if everyone was well aware of the
Curse that fall, especially in Boston. But what everyone didn't know was that the Curse itself was so real
and tangible that it could be held in someone's hand. It existed in a dusty golden box. What everyone
didn't know was that the Curse was waiting for the boy who would break it.Meanwhile, here was Oscar,
his mother waving to him from her spot by the El Camino. It was a wild, flapping wave that embarrassed
him, and then she slipped into the driver's seat and honked the horn. He was going to turn twelve the very
next day, and so this meant he would go visit his father, who would be giving him one of his sad presents
— something secondhand but made to look new: an old watch with a new, handmade wristband, a
freshly washed Windbreaker with someone else's initials penned onto the tag. His father's presents
always made Oscar feel terrible. He knew his father didn't ever have much money, but still Oscar hated
having to pretend how happy he was about old watches and Windbreakers. It made him feel like a
fake.When Oscar opened the car door, he saw his suitcase wedged in between the front seat and the
dash. It was an ancient suitcase — wheel-less and plaid, with a zipper and plastic handle. His mother
had bought it at the Salvation Army the week before. He'd thought it was strange when she came home
with it. He didn't need a suitcase. He never went anywhere. He and his mother lived in a steamy
apartment in Hingham Centre above Dependable Cleaners, where his mother worked. He ate at Atlantic
Bagel & Deli & Coffee Co., got his hair trimmed at Hingham Square Barber Shop, traveled daily to
Hingham Middle School. The farthest he'd ever gone was the forty-five-minute trip to visit with his father in
Boston each Thursday at Pizzeria Uno near Fenway Park."What's with the suitcase?" Oscar asked,
trying to position his legs around it."You're going to stay with your father, just for a month or two. It'll all
work out." She put on the car's blinker nonchalantly — as if this were a normal thing to say — and turned
onto Main Street.But it wasn't normal at all. Oscar had never spent the night at his father's place — had
never even seen it. His parents had been divorced for as long as he could remember. Oscar stared at the
suitcase as if it were the real problem. The suitcase seemed all wrong. He wanted to tell her he didn't like
the idea of being shipped off and not told till the last minute — had his father actually agreed to this? —
and that he was a little scared of the whole thing; but all that came out was a small complaint. "It's an old
man's suitcase," he said.His mother said, "Look. Nothing's perfect. But let me explain something about
love."Oscar didn't want to talk about love. He knew what she was going to go on about: Marty Glib, the
Baltimore King of Condos. His mother had met him in an online chat room; and whenever she talked
about him, she fiddled with the beads on her necklace. He'd come up on business a few times; and his
mother had gone on...
Author Bio
Julianna Baggott
Julianna Baggott is a poet and the author of several novels for adult readers, including Girl Talk, The
Madam, and The Miss America Family, as well as Which Brings Me to You, cowritten with Steve
Almond. As the pseudonymous N. E. Bode, she has written The Slippery Map, The Anybodies, The
Nobodies, and The Somebodies. She lives with her family in Tallahassee, Florida.

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