Tyler Josten has never caught a break. Abandoned by his mother, physically and emotionally abused by his father, he grows up with a wild temper, fighting anyone he sees as a bully -- including the police. When he gets into trouble with the law, his grandmother gives up on him, and he is placed in foster care to wait for his court date.
The Conways welcome Tyler into the kind of home he never imagined, one full of comfort and compassion. When Wayne Conway starts teaching him how to box, Tyler's uneasiness with people caring about him begins to disappear. With a controlled outlet for the violence instilled in him, Tyler starts taking responsibility for his life and his actions. But he still has to be able to trust other people -- and himself.
[Fry reading level - 5.4
BRENT R. SHERRARD is the author of the Lorimer SideStreets novels Final Takedown and Wasted, both of which received commendations from the Canadian Children's Book Centre. He and his wife, Valerie, live in Miramachi, New Brunswick.
"This is another great selection from Lorimer's SideStreets line of Hi-Lo fiction. Tackling the gritty life of a street kid and examining the abusive environment that spawned him, Tyler is a sympathetic character that risks being passed through the system until someone steps up and cares. Teens may recognize themselves or friends and family in Tyler. Adults may see someone they know in Tyler, and step up to do something. Make resources available to teens reading this book, including information on domestic violence and programs that offer an escape, whether it be information on shelters, academic programs, or athletics. Know the teens in your life and get this book into those hands."
"Fight Back will have appeal for both male and female readers of any reading level since the story is one of overcoming obstacles in order to find and build on one's strengths...Fight Back deals with tough and somewhat controversial subjects as a matter of course, rather than being preachy...Students who read this book may feel somehow broken as well, and Tyler provides an excellent role model for them."
"This is an extraordinary short novel, not just for those readers who have difficulty reading, but for everyone, young, old, kid or adult — this is one not to be missed — and you might just learn something important about how to make your life a little bit better."
"Great book for reluctant older readers about standing up for yourself and not giving up."
"Abuse is one of those topics that has to handled very delicately . . . Thankfully, Fight Back strikes that perfect balance.of authentic and accurate."
"[An excellent read."
"[A great story, with life lessons and a main character that doesn't 'go soft' in the end. He stays tough, true to his nature, but he now has respect for himself with nothing to prove . . . If the rest of the SideStreet series is as good as this book, I highly recommend them for your YA reader at home, reluctant or not."
"This is a young adult read that covers some difficult issues. It is written very well, the main character is very strong and the author portrays his troubles well."
"[Good character development and an interesting and believable storyline. I have a large collection of the SideStreets series in my library and I will definitely be adding this one to the collection."
"This book would be good for reluctant readers."
"When trouble with the law sends him to foster care, Tyler is welcomed with compassion, and his violent impulses are transformed with the art of boxing. A novel aimed at high schoolers, written at a fifth-grade reading level."
"I think this is a great book. It is gripping and relevant and would be a great read for any middle/senior school student. I found myself really pulling for Tyler to overcome the issues in his life. It is the right length for a reluctant reader who may feel overwhelmed by trying to read a longer novel."
"It's a great story about overcoming your obstacles and trying to provoke change."
"[Fight Back will appeal to many tweens and teens struggling with the adults in their lives."
"This is a book I would recommend students to read. This is a publisher that I would read again. I find I need books for boys along these lines. High interest and low readability without it looking like a “baby” book. A good read and a good find for a teacher like me."
"Fight Back is part of the Reluctant Reader series from Lorimer & Company Publishers, which I am a huge fan of. The stories are easy to follow and are very realistic. My students go through some of the same things that the characters go through, which makes them feel very connected to the characters and the story . . . Fight Back is beautifully written . . . [A wonderful story for anyone, not just reluctant readers."
"This book will appeal to middle school and up readers. The characters are interesting and life-like, and the story line will appeal especially to boys! It's great to see a book that is at a lower reading level (5.4), but will grab the attention of older readers."
"His choice of boxing as a subject allows him to portray a boy whose emotions begin to mature along with his athletic skills. Hard-won insight neatly depicted."
"Tyler's tragic life is the focus of this action-packed novel about managing anger... Sherrard's novel sends a powerful message to teenage readers about the importance of adults who care about children and believe in the power of positive reinforcement."
"This book drew me in from the first page. I had to finish reading it all in one sitting because I was so invested in Tyler's story. . . Beautifully written at an accessible level, Fight Back would make a great addition to a middle school or high school library. . . My students will definitely gobble this one up just as hungrily as I did. I am actively seeking more books by Brent R. Sherrard and from James Lorimer & Company Publishers."