The Brave

The Brave

4.6 16
by Robert Lipsyte

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Sonny's been an outsider all his life.

He has never fit into either world: the Moscondagas on the Reservation see him as white; whites see him as Indian. So far, Sonny's managed to harness his anger -- what he calls "the monster" -- in the boxing ring. But Sonny wants out of the Res. He's headed for New York City, where nobody can tell him what to

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Sonny's been an outsider all his life.

He has never fit into either world: the Moscondagas on the Reservation see him as white; whites see him as Indian. So far, Sonny's managed to harness his anger -- what he calls "the monster" -- in the boxing ring. But Sonny wants out of the Res. He's headed for New York City, where nobody can tell him what to do.

Sonny doesn't count on stepping into the middle of a drug war when he gets there -- or on tangling with a tough Harlem boxer-turned-cop named Alfred Brooks. Brooks seems to think that Sonny's got the talent to make it to the top -- to be a contender. But first Sonny's got to learn to be smart, take control of his life, and beat the monster. Only it isn't as easy as it sounds....

Editorial Reviews

Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
“A hard-hitting powerhouse of a novel.”

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HarperCollins Publishers
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13 Years

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The Brave Chapter One

Sonny Bear swaggered down the aisle, banging his big red gloves together, whipping his black ponytail from side to side against his bare shoulders, feeling the hatred the crowd slap his body like a fine cold spray. Keep it coming, you hillbilly bozos, thought Sonny. Makes me strong.

He vaulted into the ring, a sudden move that surprised the crowd. No one expected a heavyweight so quick. He raised his fists above his head. The crowd stomped and hooted. Someone shouted, "Gonna need a tommyhawk tonight, Injun," and the bozos laughed. He felt the monster stir in his chest.

The hometown fighter was already in the ring, a big farm boy with curly yellow fur growing over his chest and back. He flexed his lumpy biceps and glared at Sonny. The crowd cheered. The farm boy was Sonny's height, six foot one, but he looked fifty pounds heavier. Not all of it was fat. He was older, too, at least nineteen. Sonny glared back. The crowd booed.

Jake pulled him back into his corner and pushed him down on his stool. "Here to win. Not make 'em mad." His dry old fingers massaged Sonny's neck.

Sonny checked the crowd. What you'd expect at a Friday-night smoker in a mountain town. A couple hundred white guys on folding chairs sucking on beer cans and talking big. They were in their workday clothes, overalls and greasy jeans and short-sleeved shirts with their nicknames stitched on, the chests. The bigmouths who like to give Indians a tough time in hardware stores and gas stations, thought Sonny. If I wasn't wearing gloves, I'd give them the finger. The monster was hot in his throat. Furry farm boy's going to taste some tommyhawk tonight.

The overhead fluorescent lights blinked off. Spotlights blazed down on the ring. Bells rang. A big man in a white bowling shirt that read, HILLCREST MOTOR HOMES on the back raised his beefy arms. "Listen up now, fellas, final match of the evening, heavyweights, two hundred bucks, winner take all....In the black trunks..."

Boos swamped the ring. A crumpled beer can sailed out of the darkness and landed on the canvas. Crowd's juiced, thought Sonny. The announcer kicked the can out of the ring. The crowd laughed.

"...weighing one hundred and eighty pounds, youngster's been making a name for himself, five straight wins, from the Moscondaga Reservation, Sonny Bear."

Bells rang to choke back the jeers. The monster filled him.

"In the white trunks...weighing two hundred and fifteen pounds...the pride of Hillcrest...our own ...Glen Hoffer."

The crowd stood and cheered as Hoffer lumbered into the center of the ring, arms raised. His body hair was golden in the ring lights. He's closer to two fifty than two fifteen, thought Sonny. When he goes down, the whole building's going to shake, rattle and roll.

"Jab," whispered Jake. "Jab and work his belly. No head-hunting."

The announcer beckoned Sonny to the center of the ring. He was going to referee this one, make sure Glen Hoffer didn't get hurt too bad, thought Sonny. Good luck.

"Five rounds, anyone gets knocked down twice in one round it's over. Got that?" When they both nodded, he looked directly at Sonny. "No kicking, boy, no gouging, biting, butting, hitting below the belt, none of that reservation stuff."

The ref turned to Hoffer. "After a knockdown, Glen, go right to a neutral corner so's I can start the count."

Back in his corner, just before the bell, Sonny swigged water from Jake's taped bottle and spat it into a bucket. He opened his mouth so Jake could slip in the plastic guard. Jake pushed his dark, wrinkled face close. "Careful, Sonny. jab and belly." Between his feet was the overnight bag with Sonny's clothes. Good old Great-Uncle Jake, he thought, ready for a fast getaway.

The bell rang.

"No head-hunting," yelled Jake.

Bust that pale face, ordered the monster.

Sonny sprang out and fired the left hook at Hoffer's head before the farm boy got his hands up.


Hoffer's legs kicked out and he crashed to the deck. He sat on the canvas, an amazed expression on his big, dumb face.

Sonny's laugh woke him up. Hoffer rolled over on his hands and knees. Clumsily, he pushed himself back up to his feet. The referee jumped between them and wiped Hoffer's gloves off on his shirt. Sonny couldn't hear what he said to Hoffer.

The farm boy's cheek was bright red where the hook had landed. There was a drop of blood in one nostril. He raised his gloves to his heaving chest and marched toward Sonny, eyes narrowed, lips tight.

He never expected another hook. To the same spot.

This one turned him around. He staggered into the ropes and fell to his knees. Only his elbows, snagged on the middle rope, kept him up. He hung there like a side of beef. Sonny strolled to a neutral corner. Second knockdown. It's over. Easy payday.

The referee helped Hoffer up. "That was only a slip," he said, "not a knockdown."

The monster snickered, What do you expect, Redskin? A fair fight?

Sonny watched Hoffer lurch toward him, carried along on a chanting chorus, "Glen...Glen...Glen," his eyes glazed and his lips slack.

He's out on his feet. One more good shot and he's gone, there's no way they can rob this fight.

"Jab and belly," yelled Jake. "Don't let him come close."

Sonny dug in and let Hoffer come close, into range to catch the full impact of the final punch, a short left hook that would bust that pale white face like a rotten cantaloupe, bust all those pale faces, bury the tommyhawk in every one of them.

C'mon, farmer, I'm gonna plant you now.

He unleashed the hook.

It never landed.

Sonny felt the uppercut graze his thigh before it slammed into his groin and lifted him off his feet. He fell forward, into Hoffer, his legs rubbery. He was swimming into a damp, hairy wall. He couldn't focus. There were three Hoffers. They pushed him away.

Sonny staggered backward, tripped himself, hit the canvas and rolled over on his face. He gasped for air as the pain exploded between his legs and surged up into his belly.

The Brave. Copyright © by Robert Lipsyte. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Brave 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A boy Sonny is living with his uncle on a old junkyard and wants to become a boxer. Sonny is a boy living on the Reservation with his uncle. His uncle Jake took him in after his mom dropped him off so she could go find a place to live in the city. He's been training for fighting from his uncle Jake. Sonny is also half white and half Indian. When he is training they call him a running brave. This is a kind of book that if you like sports and action. The book is by Robert Lipstyle who writes not just any book he writes about everything in sports. If I had a favorite character would have to be the main one Sonny because he does everything. So when he is done with boxing and finally moves away from the reservation. So now he is ready to try to make it on his own. Yes I would recommend this book for people who like boxing sports and action.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ADalton More than 1 year ago
The author uses stereotypes when he talks about American Indians, such as the parts about the "Running Braves" and although the tribe is fictional it is probably better that the readers be acquainted with the truth about tribes in the area
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
After picking up this book and flipping through the pages I looked at the cover. It didn't look like anything special but I decided I would read it anyway. After the first time I actually opened the book and started reading it I didn't want to put the book down. This book keeps your eyes glued to the pages and makes you flip the pages almost systematically. To tell you the truth, I was getting in trouble for staying up late reading which is very unusual for a kid like me. Sonny Bear, the main character who is a boxer, has a very interesting life. One that you want to keep 'watching' to see what will happen to him next. Throughout this book you meet many minor characters that shake up the plot. A story wouldn't be complete without villians, or antagonist, that threaten to bring Sonny down into a place he shouldn't be. Being an Indian, and from a reservation Sonny was put through a lot of prejudice from others especially during boxing matches. Fights were robbed from him, but yet he still battled through it all. Sonny goes from a small Indian reservation for Moscogandas, to the Big Apple, or New York City. Big city life can change anyone who isn't used to it. Sonny, being no different than anyone else, also has trouble that comes his way. He tries to work through it, but whether he comes out on top or goes down in flames, you'll have to read the book to find out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sonny Bear a 17 year old native american boy who wants to get out of the reservation. He is sick and tired of Jake, who is 68, telling him about running braves. He goes to New York, meets the wrong people that get him in trouble with the law. Then Alfred Brooks takes Sonny off the streets and gets him in the ring. They say he can be the next best thing. Then his past comes back to haunt him. Is his life runned? One of the Best fictions I have ever read. Another Rocky type story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a great book. The contender was also great if you red that you will want to read this or vis versa.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book The Brave is a book for an average reader in the middle school level. I havn't read the prequal to this book The Contender. But I'm sure it's juat as good as The Brave
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sonny Bear is an Indian, who runs runs away from his reservation to New York City to search for his mother. He is a boxer is who tired of participating in smoker fights. He is also tired of his Uncle Jake's fairy tails. When he gets off the bus in New York City, he accepts a job with a hustler, and he is immediately busted for possesion of illigal substances. Sonny is a talented boxer, but he is hot-temperedand undiseplened; he has nearly killed in a correctional center before Alfred Brooks sends him to Donatelli's Gym, the place in Harlem, New York where he used to train. Sonny's training begins on the reservation, where its supplied by Jake, a member of the 'Running Braves'; after a brief course of instruction at Donatelli's, Sonny enters a city-wide amateur competetion and makes his way to the finals. But in his way strikes a terrible tragedy. Read this book to find out what happens to Sonny. I feel you need to read this book because it's action packed and it always makes you want to read more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
(Sorry canf see headlines) He looked at his mentor. "Want to go hunting?"
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I first looked at this book it seemed interesting. As I started reading it i started to get into it. This young boy named Sonny is a boxer that had a dream of becoming a champion and get a title even after they had stoled a fight from him on his own town. Sonny was living with his uncle Jake, until one day he got tired of his uncle complaining and ran away. He left in search for a title and his mother. On his search he found many friends who helped him many ways. Sonny knows what it takes to get what he wants and we know what it is to read a good book like THE BRAVE......