This is not a new or original story. Walter Dean Myers told a similar tale in The Scorpions.
A group of grade school friends have recently begun middle school. They decide to form a secret club that isn't really a gang. But soon they are doing things like tagging, shop lifting, smoking weed and brawling that are very gang like. Some of the group is more gang like than others, skipping school, finding a place to hang (a cul de sac), doing meth. One of the group, Manny, really isn't comfortable with his friends' new activities and hangs less and less with them. Except, he is the one getting the marijuana for them. Then there is a nasty fight in which two middle schoolers who officially belong to a gang are beaten senseless and left lying in the cul de sac. Manny and his girl friend find them and with Henrietta's mother's help notify authorities so the two will get help. What follows is lots of questioning by police about who did the beating. Manny finally caves and rats out his friends. There are consequences for all involved of varying severity, including Manny who must deal with his abuela's disappointment in him, his friends disapproval and having been involved with marijuana distribution. For kids still looking for more gang related books. JDW 10/5