Betsy Byars, acclaimed author of The Summer of the Swans, crafts another insightful tale into childhood vulnerability with The Pinballs, an intimate glimpse at the lives of three foster kids pulled together by happenstance. Mr. and Mrs. Mason have decided to take in another set of foster children, this time a trio of children, all whom have been the victims of deep emotional and physical abuse. Harvey, a thirteen-year-old boy, is wheelchair-bound, paralyzed due to his father’s rage-induced and alcohol-fueled driving. Thomas J is a sheltered child, who was deserted as a baby, and taken in by a pair of elderly sisters, whose respective infirmities have now forced them to place the boy in foster care. Carlie, the caustic oldest of the three, has an inherent difficulty trusting others, mainly due to her mother’s complete disregard and stepfather’s abuse. The three children, with the dedicated encouragement of the Masons, start to slowly bond and pull together, learning to find within themselves the courage and self-respect to begin to shape their own lives. While Byars deals with a dark and emotionally painful topic, she handles the subject of abuse with sensitivity, and chronicles the self-journeys of the three children with an engaging pen, which will undoubtedly elicit both empathy and respect from readers.