Honest, raw, and thought provoking, the story of a teenage boy who finds escape through Mixed Martial Arts.
"Devine instantly captures your attention and holds it until the very end. . . . The storyline, the drama and the characters were all thoroughly put together."School Library Journal Teen
"From the first line, author Devine announces that he plans to hit hard and hit often, and most of the strikes hit home in perhaps the grittiest sports novel since Joshua C. Cohen's Leverage (2011)...this strong outing deserves plenty of readers.Kirkus Reviews
"Devine doesn’t pull any punches."Publishers Weekly
"It is honest, raw and emotional, and deserves a place on every high school and public library bookshelf."You Decide: Should I Read It or Not? blog
"It is a wonderful tale of realizing you have to make your own decisions if you want your life to go anywhere." Barefoot Dokusha blog
"[A] book that is relevant to teenage boys and one that they will read." The Literati Press
"The book is very gritty, and completely unapologetic in revealing parts of our society that often get overlooked or swept under the rug. I think that is wonderful." Sharon the Librarian blog
"A lot of contemporary YA deals with serious issues, but Tap Out may be the most brutal, stark portrayal of the utter hopelessness that is a reality for a lot of kids." Forever Young Adult
- Running Press Book Publishers
- Publication date:
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
- Age Range:
- 14 - 17 Years
Read an Excerpt
By Eric Devine
Running Press KidsCopyright © 2012 Eric Devine
All right reserved.
From Chapter 1:
I am a pussy. I know this, and not much else.
A wet smack sounds in the next room. My mother cries in pain. "Please Cameron, I didn't mean anything." He hits her again, twice, dense flesh on flesh.
"The fuck you didn't." Cameron, my mother's boyfriend, slurs. She must have made some joke that he was too drunk to understand. Again.
So he's kicking the shit out of her. Again.
I'm sitting on the corner of my bed, listening, but not doing anything, even though I want to. My muscles are all coiled, tight, like I'm ready to roll, but I won't. Cameron is wiry, works construction and could toss me across the fucking room. At least that's what I tell myself about him, this boyfriend. I've had excuses for all the others as well, and an entire list of reasons for my father.
He hits her again, a dull thud, the sound of his fist hitting her head. "You gonna apologize or what?"
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I didn't mean anything."
Another blow, and she hits the wall. The house vibrates. "Damn straight you dumb bitch." The door squeals as he pounds down the hall and the fridge opens. He's grabbing a beer, or two. The can clicks and pops, followed by the sound of him falling into the recliner. The volume on the TV goes up: lots of screaming and yelling.
Fuck, maybe it's over. I grab the back of my head and bury my face into the crooks of my elbows. I want to block out the sound of him and forget what I just heard, but my mom's crying seeps through the paper-thin walls. I hate the noise, but more, I hate the redundancy. How many times has she been like this? It's impossible to keep track, there's been so many.
Her cry lifts and then is muffled. She must be using her pillow. I hope so, because if he hears her... Hopefully she'll be able to calm and then sit, red-faced and swollen, and wait for Cam get a sleepy buzz. Then, like always, she can ice or shower, depending on how bad it is. Once it started, it only took them three months to find this pattern. Not a record, but pretty fast.
Wonder how long it took for her and my dad?
He's the reason I'm such a little bitch now, hiding out instead of stepping up. As a kid I never once went after him, just daydreamed about taking him out. In the end I didn't have to, he just left. As have all the rest. But Cameron's still hanging around, and this time I see myself stepping into her bedroom when he's wailing on her. I grab his arm mid-swing and twist him around. He sees me and his eyes go wide, but then he gets that sneer like he always does. But before he can do anything, I head-butt him. He collapses to his knees, grabbing his face as the blood pumps out. I ignore it and put my fist into his jaw. No, through it. My mom screams, but I ignore her and enjoy his pain. He goes to speak but realizes that his jaw is shattered and I laugh, because I know in that moment I could kill him. I may not be big, but you don't get beat your entire life without hardening. I could take him out. I have the capacity, and that is enough for me, because I don't want to actually do it and be like him, or the others. In my fantasy I help my mother up and walk her out of the room, away from the oozing mass in the corner. We step into a cleaner version of our life, where we're not confined to our prison of a trailer and no one sees us as white trash.
It's never gonna happen though, so there's no point in wishing for it. I stand up and walk to the bathroom and the trailer wobbles. Or it could be I'm still amped and it feels that way. Or the fucking thing may really be falling apart. Why wouldn't it? Everything else is.
Excerpted from Tap Out by Eric Devine Copyright © 2012 by Eric Devine. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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