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Levi just wants to be treated like a typical kid. As a baby, he had a serious disease that caused him respiratory issues. He's fine now, but his mom and overprotective brother still think of him as...
Levi just wants to be treated like a typical kid. As a baby, he had a serious disease that caused him respiratory issues. He's fine now, but his mom and overprotective brother still think of him as...
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  • Levi just wants to be treated like a typical kid. As a baby, he had a serious disease that caused him respiratory issues. He's fine now, but his mom and overprotective brother still think of him as damaged, and his schoolmates see him as the same class clown he's always been. He feels stuck. So when his dad—divorced from his mom—suggests he take up boxing, he falls in love with the sport. And when he finds out about a school with a killer boxing team and a free-study curriculum, it feels like he's found a ticket to a new Levi. But how can he tell his mom about boxing? And how can he convince his family to set him free?

About the Author-

  • K. A. Holt is the author of Rhyme Schemer and House Arrest, along with several other books for young people. She lives in Austin, Texas, and is active within the vibrant Texas writing community.

Reviews-

  • School Library Journal

    February 1, 2018

    Gr 5-8-A companion piece to Holt's well-received House Arrest, this compelling novel-in-verse reintroduces readers to the same characters some 11 years later. Levi, who was a sickly infant with a life-endangering condition, is now a cocky, energetic tween with a story of his own to tell: "Who am I?/I am Levi./I am small/but fast/I am smart/but dumb./If you move the letters/of my name around/you get live." He is chafing at the overprotectiveness of Timothy, his big brother, who grew up playing a role beyond his years as Levi's caretaker, and his mother, who once struggled to keep him alive while trying to make ends meet. Levi is tired of being wrapped in cotton wool. He wants to run, play, climb trees, and assert his independence. And he wants, more than anything, to box: "When I hit the bag/BAM BAM BAM/it stopped all my thoughts/and I'm just...in the moment.../arms/fists/feet/moving/moving/an animal/not a boy/a beast/a different/me." How these three characters bob and weave and ultimately grow together into a greater understanding makes for an accessible story that will not only resonate with middle graders who are living under the shadow of a life-threatening illness, but for all tweens who are eager to establish their independence. Levi isn't always likable as he pushes to assert himself but he is always relatable. Well-placed concrete verse adds visual interest and further adds to the kid appeal. VERDICT This character-driven narrative should be an easy sell, especially where House Arrest was popular; fans of thoughtful sports novels-in-verse (e.g. Kwame Alexander's The Crossover) will likely enjoy this as well.-Eileen Makoff, P.S. 90 Edna Cohen School, NY

    Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    February 15, 2018
    A kid who grew up with precarious health hungers to bust out of the protected zone that his mother and brother keep him in.To 12-year-old Levi, born weighing 2 pounds, "the hole in my neck, / the trach tube I needed to breathe, / the medical equipment in the house, / the almost dying, / the surgeries" are stories--not memories. He plans never to be "blue" (breathless) again. Readers new to Levi's story will share his casualness; House Arrest (2015) readers, however, will remember Levi's near deaths vividly through the eyes of his brother, Timothy, now 24 but a child back when Levi's life lay in his hands. First-person free verse effectively conveys Levi's impatience as he lunges away from "TIMOTHY'S RULES / FOR EVERYDAY / BLAH-BLAHS" by climbing a tree, lying, pranking (he interrupts school events from inside a stolen chicken-mascot costume), and learning to box. Custodial parent Mom doesn't know he's boxing, but tough-guy Dad gives permission, applying machismo pressure. Levi himself uses knockouts as a metaphor for strength and success (and happily claims the title of a "man's man / ladies' man"). Boxing channels his energy, acuity, and anger and even holds, "like, / beauty." Tender moments come when Levi, Timothy, and Mom use a journal to write back and forth. Aside from a remark that Dad is "pasty white" and Levi "not," race and color go unmentioned.Fast and victorious. (Verse fiction. 9-13)

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    March 1, 2018
    Grades 5-7 Twelve-year-old Levi has his problems. A tracheotomy when he was younger has left him in sometimes perilous heath as he struggles to breathe, an inhaler always at the ready. His parents are divorced; his older brother, Timothy, is often inaccessible as he studies for the exam that will determine whether he will be admitted to medical school; and his best friend Tam has found a new friend, a cheerleader named Kate, who occupies all her time. Things start to look up, though, when Levi discovers boxing and turns out to be a natural. But lessons are expensive and money is a problem. It also becomes a major consideration when he decides he wants to go to a private school that has a boxing team. In the meantime, he is injured in the ring and must go to a hospital in Cincinnati. Can the doctors there cure his previously existing condition? Holt, who tells her story in shaped verse, handles her material expertly, crafting an appealing story that most readers will find to be, yes, a knockout.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2018, American Library Association.)

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    Chronicle Books LLC
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