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Total Knockout: Tale of an Ex-Class President (Mix Series)

Total Knockout: Tale of an Ex-Class President (Mix Series)

5.0 4
by Taylor Morris

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There's nothing ordinary about Lucia Latham - she gets straight A's, she's been middle school Class President for two years running and she's a great boxer - nothing is more fun than a good old sparring match with best friend Cooper, especially since she usually wins. In short, there are few things Lucia tackles that don't turn out exactly how she wants them.


There's nothing ordinary about Lucia Latham - she gets straight A's, she's been middle school Class President for two years running and she's a great boxer - nothing is more fun than a good old sparring match with best friend Cooper, especially since she usually wins. In short, there are few things Lucia tackles that don't turn out exactly how she wants them.

So at the beginning of her 8th grade year, Lucia has no reason to believe that things won't continue being easy - until she sticks her foot in her mouth in a HUGE way. Then it seems her carefully constructed world is crashing down around her. Can she regain her super star status or will she be forced to lower her expectations?

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 4-8

After winning the class-president election for an unprecedented third straight time, Lucia has ambitious plans for her eighth-grade year. Along with her prestigious office, she has a reliable best friend, an unthreatening vice president, and a cool hobby: boxing. Her orderly world unravels, though, when her reckless scheme to purchase new vending machines backfires and she faces possible impeachment. As her political fortunes decline, Lucia also has to cope with the growing tensions between her parents and her own feelings of jealousy regarding her two closest friends. Skillful first-person narration deftly captures the nuances of the protagonist's personality. She's clearly self-centered and judgmental, but still likable from the start. While she earnestly embraces her role as a highly competitive go-getter, readers will detect the insecurity that lies beneath the outward self-confidence. The well-paced plot balances Lucia's inner turmoil with interesting episodes involving school politics, friendships, and family relationships. Supporting characters play key roles as Lucia gradually discovers that her friends and family are more complicated and more interesting than she had assumed when everything was going her way. Her relationship with her father is particularly well drawn. Lucia's frequent missteps ultimately lead to hard but valuable lessons, and her final emergence as a more thoughtful and empathetic person is convincing. Lucia has learned that she can "take a hit and keep going."-Steven Engelfried, Multnomah County Library, OR

Product Details

Publication date:
Mix Series
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File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
9 - 13 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Cooper "Gravy" Nixon just nailed me with a left hook to the shoulder.

It knocked me back a step, but I regained my stance, my pink gloves on either side of my face. I jabbed right, narrowly missing his chin. He returned the punch, but I weaved around it, then went for an uppercut. Cooper dodged that, too, which frustrated me even more. I knew I was on the verge of losing control. We'd been knocking each other pretty steadily for three two-minute rounds, and we were both sweating and breathing heavily. I needed to focus, but I kept thinking about tomorrow, when I'd become president of Angus Junior High for the third year in a row, the first student to ever accomplish such a feat. Future generations of Angus Blue Jays would revere the name Lucia Latham.

That's me, by the way.

I refocused my energy and upped my momentum, finally landing some solid body shots — and maybe even hitting my best friend a little harder than we normally allowed. But how could he blame me? I was all pumped up on the adrenaline of my final year at Angus Junior High and leaving my mark, my legacy, on our school. With each jab I saw my student council victory; with each hook I imagined my eighth-grade year a stunning success; with every uppercut, I envisioned my classmates cheering for my victory.

I guess Cooper finally got frustrated at being smacked around — he is, frankly, stronger (although shorter) than me. He usually just dodges my punches or hits at half strength. I guess he'd had enough, because he pulled himself together and starting swinging back, landing one perfectly executed blow to my cheek. It barely hurt, thanks to the massive headgear our parents make us wear (which also protects our faces), but I still knew in those seconds right afterward that I needed a strategy.

"Ow, Coop," I cried, turning my back on him. "Shoot, that really stung." I peeked over my shoulder. We'd been best friends since before we knew any better — you know, that it's taboo or something for boys and girls to be just friends. By the time we figured it out, we were over it and thought everyone else should be too. Still, every so often someone decided to be oh-so-original and ask us when the wedding was.

"You okay?" Cooper panted, taking a step toward me.

"Man, you got me good," I said. "Made me bite my tongue. I thought we said not in the face."

"Hey, I'm sorry," he said, resting his paw on my shoulder. "Does it hurt — "

Turning quickly and deftly, I struck a solid punch into Cooper's stomach. "Fooled you!" I pummeled his body as he twisted his torso, trying to block my ferocious punches. With each hit I silently chanted, win, win, win, win.

"Cheater! That ain't fair and you know it!" Cooper hollered as he blocked my punches.

"And another one for bad grammar!" I yelled, jabbing him in the side.

"Fine! I give! Stop it!"

Seeing that he'd really had enough — his round cheeks had flushed a darker shade of red — I lowered my pink Everlast gloves (my prized possession) and wiped away the sweat trickling into my eyes with my shoulder. I extended my hands and said, "Good match, Coop."

He eyed me for a moment, sweat rushing down his own face. Finally, he lightly tapped my gloves back. "Yeah, you, too," he sighed. "Even if you did cheat."

I pulled off my gloves and headgear and wiped my face with a towel that hung from a gray metal folding chair. The breeze from the open garage door of Cooper's house instantly cooled my face. "Sorry about that. I'm just so pumped about the elections. Aren't you?"

Cooper grimaced. He was only running for secretary at my insistence. He knew how much this final year meant to me, and how much I needed him so that I didn't have any opposition on the council. This way, with my two closest friends, Cooper and Melanie, by my side, I wouldn't have any trouble making all the bold changes I had planned for this year — changes that wouldn't just affect our school, but the entire school district. Besides, Copper was only nervous because he had to make a speech today. Even though he was running unopposed, Mrs. Peoria, the student council advisor, said he had to do it. The election rules clearly stated that everyone had to give a speech to showcase their abilities, so there was nothing I could do.

"Well, I'm excited," I continued when Cooper didn't respond. "Starting high school next year will be like moving up in weight class. That means we have to really prepare ourselves for the next challenge. Now's not the time to get soft."

"I guess," Cooper said, obviously not convinced. He wiped his brow with the bottom of his shirt. I looked away from his exposed belly. "I just hope I don't puke before I can get that speech out."

"It's nothing, Coop. I'll be right there beside you the whole time," I assured him. But he didn't look convinced.

Copyright © 2008 by Taylor Morris

Meet the Author

TAYLOR MORRIS is the author of the Hello, Gorgeous! series and the Aladdin Mix titles Class Favorite and Total Knockout. She lives in New York City with her orchestra conductor husband, Silas, and their two cats, who have hyphenated last names. She thinks that having a fight with a best friend is one of the worst things a girl can go through. Tell her about your BFF woes at www.taylormorris.com

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Total Knockout: Tale of an Ex-Class President 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Lucia Latham has to win the election. She just has to! She was class president in sixth and seventh grade. Never has the same student been voted president of Angus Junior High three years in a row, and Lucia will do whatever it takes to make history, including talking her friend, Melanie, into running for president alongside her. There's no way Melanie will beat her, and when she comes in second, then Melanie would become her vice-president. And with her best friend, Cooper, running unopposed for secretary, shell have no problems getting the council to go along with her big idea!

But, in asking Melanie to run, she doesn't figure in the possibility that Melanie might actually be more popular that she is. And when the principal puts Lucia's big plan into motion, Lucia doesn't expect the students, including those on her own council, to hate it. And since nobody else really cares about student council the way she does, Lucia certainly never expected Nicole Jeffries, the school's top reporter, to discover that she had broken one of the student council by-laws, resulting in a scathing article that called for Lucia to resign or be impeached!

As Lucia's presidency crumbles she finds she has no one to talk to. Her father has been little more than useless since losing his job. Her mother, already stressed from having to carry the full financial load, is all out of sympathy. And Melanie seems to actually enjoy being the new president. Lucia heads over to Cooper's to vent and ends up confused and angry when she finds him boxing with Melanie!

What will Lucia decide to do when she finds out about Melanie's plan for the big yearly 8th-grade fundraiser? Will she be able to help her dad find his way back into the game? And what about Cooper? Will she ever be able to look at him like she used to? Her best friend ever?

Once again, Ms. Morris has created a delightful cast of characters. The reader will relate to Melanie's frustration after doing something she knew was wrong, and now having to cope with the natural consequences. They'll recognize her confused emotions as Cooper stirs strange feelings, and her resulting jealousy of Melanie. Sprinkle in a few upper cuts and jabs, and the result is a total knockout! Although this second book is more serious than Taylor Morris' debut novel, if you loved CLASS FAVORITE, you will be equally thrilled with TOTAL KNOCKOUT!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lucia Latham is nothing if not driven. She¿s going to be elected as president of her junior high school for the third time, a feat never accomplished before. To top that off, Lucia is also a boxer who wakes up extra early every day to practice with her best friend Cooper. Lucie is determined to leave her mark on her junior high school even greater than being a three-time president. But will Lucia know when she is taking it too far? And will she be able to pick herself up if she falls? Total Knockout is Lucia¿s story of family, friendship, and personal image problems. Totally Knockout is the slightly humorous but very meaningful story of a young girl learning from her mistakes and fixing them. Lucia¿s character is very easy to understand, because I¿m sure we¿ve all been greedy at one time or another. I found it a little amusing when Lucia didn¿t completely think her plans through, but that turned out to be her downfall. Nevertheless, I still like Lucia¿s character and was cheering for her to clean up her mess. Some of the other characters, on the other hand, were more difficult for me to understand they weren¿t as well developed because the story was told from Lucia¿s point-of-view. The most interesting addition to the plot was Lucia¿s boxing, and although I didn¿t understand many (or any) of the references to boxers, I did like how Lucia applied boxing principles to her life. I also liked how boxing connected Lucia and her father. Like Taylor Morris¿ other novel, Class Favorite, Total Knockout is most suitable for the middle grade audience. Older readers may enjoy this book too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!! Ever since kindergarten I always had a very high reading level. That made it very hard for me to find books I loved and that are at my reading level. But this book was just right and inresting. People like me should read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love it