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McCutcheon Daniels' life is full of bone-cracking violence. As a star fighter in the gritty underground Mixed Martial Arts circuit in the poorest section of Detroit, McCutcheon fights under the tutelage of his volatile and violent father, not so much for himself but to survive as protector of his beloved five-year old sister, Gemma. We get to know McCutcheon as he battles opponents who are literally trying to kill him. Mr. Freedman, his science teacher, spots his intellectual potential, befriends him, and encourages him to enter the lottery for a scholarship to an elite charter school so he can obtain a first-class education. He is at first dead-set against the idea, and of course his tyrannical father forbids it. But the school's headmaster, Kaitlyn, a student assigned to be his guide, and Mr. Freedman continue to encourage him to consider it. <P><P> His father and the Priests, the local Mafia-like crew that run Detroit's organized crime, have other plans for McCutcheon. For them, he is simply a tool to make them money. And when that cash flow is threatened, his father hits McCutcheon where it hurts most-he hides Gemma and threatens his own son that he'll never see his beloved sister again if he doesn't play by the Priests' rules.<P> For the first time in his life, McCutcheon reaches out for help. Mr. Freedman turns out to have a very mysterious past and not only helps McCutcheon find his sister but also his mother who had simply disappeared on McCutcheon's 13th birthday. All seems well, but happy endings aren't really something McCutcheon feels he can rely on. And he may be right.<P> A ferocious novel, Caged Warrior is like a great fight movie, a tour-de-force of relentless conflict, but one that is leavened with rich characters and meaningful and loving relationships.
Theresa Anderson is every kind of smart: too smart-mouthed for her own good, street smart enough to deal with a neighborhood that gets more dangerous every day, and more book smart than anyone knows.
When Teddy Anderson's little sister Tina is gunned down randomly in a drive-by shooting, the gangstas who rule the streets in the Anderson family's rapidly deteriorating neighborhood dismiss the incident as just another case of RP, RT-- wrong place, wrong time. According to gangsta logic, Tina doesn't even count as a statistic. Each member of the Anderson family is devastated. But for Teddy aka T-Bear, there's only one thing on his mind, and that's revenge...
A hard beat pumped from a radio by the fence. Ten players, twenty sneakers, two rims, one basketball: that's all there was. That's all they needed. A ball sailed through the air. Swish! Across the court, a player tried to dribble past a defender and take him to the hole, but the pick was weak and the defense clogged the middle. A shot was forced up off balance. Two players battled for position under the boards. Shawn, a white player for the Skins, got the tip, dribbled back up-court away from the basket, then stopped, popped, and nailed a three- point basket.
Sitomer, an acclaimed author as well as California's Teacher of the Year for 2007, delivers a poignant, funny coming-of-age story about a first-generation Hispanic teen torn between her dreams and her "familia."
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