Mick Sullivan likes reading thrillers, daydreaming about Tabitha Slater, and teasing his archenemy, Boot Quinn.
Boot Quinn likes playing his guitar, daydreaming about Tabitha Slater, and punching his adversary, Mick Sullivan.
The two eighth graders are rivals in every way, and with two fights in the first week of school, they've set the stage for a yearlong showdown. That is, until a new principal arrives on the scene and forces Mick and Boot to spend an hour and a half each day playing games together. Two enemies, one small room, and no adult supervision—battle lines are bound to be crossed.
As the wins and losses are tallied, the boys find themselves fighting for their classmates' attention, a cute girl's affection, and their own fathers' respect.
But how far are they willing to go to win? And who are they really fighting?
There's only one way to find out.
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Carol Gorman is the author of many books for young readers, including Dork In Disguise, Dork on the Run, and A Midsummer Night's Dork. Ms. Gorman lives with her husband, writer Ed Gorman, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she also teaches at Coe College.From School Library Journal:
Grade 6–9—In alternating voices, two feuding middle schoolers describe the hostility that has brought them to blows. Book lover and aspiring writer Mick Sullivan is a big kid who has no interest in sports, much to his alcoholic father's disappointment. Music lover Boot Quinn, whose mother has left the family, is ignored, neglected, and sometimes abused by his father and older brother. The boys' private pain boils over in one another's presence as adolescent bravado and peer pressure lead them into frequent fistfights. Neither one is ready for the solution that the new principal has devised: for two periods each day, they are sequestered in his inner office to play board games until they can learn to get along. At first this brings their enmity into sharper focus, particularly as Boot's feelings of inferiority are exacerbated by Mick's playing skills. Goaded by fellow students, the boys challenge each other to a serious dare involving betrayal of the things they hold most dear. Complicating matters further, both boys have a crush on classmate Tabitha, who is secretly taking bets on how their battles will turn out. The plot is taut and compelling, with deft, sympathetic characterization, memorable scenes, and right-on description of the middle-school culture. Despite Mr. Maddox's clever handling of the boys, there are no simple solutions and the story ends with only a glimmer of hope that Mick and Boot can be friends. A must-read for adolescents and those trying to understand them.— Marie Orlando, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
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