Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Fighting Chance by Claudia Melendez Salinas

This has similarities to several other books I've read in the past.  One is Walter Dean Myers' book Scorpions.

A boxing club has been using free a formerly unused storage shed for boxing  training and practice bouts.

Now the town park district has decided that they need to take it over for paid programming. Coach and several boxers try to fight the take over. That is just one of the things going on and this one is left unresolved.

Miguel Angel is one of the neighborhood kids using the facility to stay away from drugs and gang violence.  His best friend has joined a gang and tries to pull him in.  Among other things Miguel hides a gun for Beto and is found at the site of a murdered man and arrested.  

Miguel tries to resist joining Beto's gang which gets him targeted by Beto's leader.  Beto is to kill Miguel but finds he cannot.  This gets Beto killed by the leader.

Now Miguel, in addition to having been arrested, possibly losing his refuge from gangs and guns has
lost his best friend and he begins to question his life as is, to consider revenge for Beto's murder and really struggle.  

This book does not have a neat ending.  We are not sure that Miguel will really resist joining a gang to get revenge for Beto but there is hope.  This part is a bit different from other books where the kid involved generally predictably winds up in jail or juvie.  I did like that about this book.  But in addition to the possible loss of the packing shed by the arrest was never completely resolved.  That is did Miguel get cleared or did coach just bail him out?

There is also a thread about kids from the wrong side of town dating and relating to wealthy kids and the kinds of issues involved, gives authenticity to the story.  This is an ok story.

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