Big and Bad: A Novella

Big and Bad: A Novella

by Anna K. Scotti


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Candy is a tough-talking California teen with a rough home life. A sarcastic stranger, Carlos, arrives to stay with the janitor’s family in Candy’s apartment building, forcing her back to the land of the living. Bear is a sweet-tempered giant of a dog, once a beloved family pet, now a junkyard dog—renamed Big and Bad—who finds himself sold to a fighting ring.

Candy’s romance with Carlos provides a sweet counterpoint to the chaos she faces every day. Candy is directionless, but Carlos’ ambition and determination inspire her, and his aunt and cousins give Candy a taste of normal family life her father can’t provide. 

Candy’s and Bear’s stories intertwine only incidentally, until Candy is forced to realize that her once beloved father is not only incapable of caring for her, but is involved in the hideous business of dog fighting. Unable to rely on anyone around her, Candy faces the truth and does her best to rescue the big dog she once delivered into evil hands.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

So utterly engrossing, so powerfully told is Big and Bad, Anna Scotti’s recent young adult novel, that I read it in a single sitting. Her protagonists, Bear and Candy (one canine, one human), are true underdogs, doing their best to navigate an uncertain, frequently cruel world. Scotti has a gift for complexity; her characters are alive on the page, recognizably flawed and sympathetic at once. The book is also a page turner, deftly plotted and expertly paced. As if that wasn’t achievement enough, Scotti has made Big and Bad a compassionate, searching inquiry into both a human’s and a dog’s need for home, belonging, and kindness.”
—Ellen Bass

Big and Bad is an achingly bittersweet and pure novella about the hurt and wonder, the pain and joy of life.  I often read sections of this just before I started working each night, because I felt as though it made me a better writer.  Anna Scotti writes fiction like the poet she is.”
—Cynthia Kadohata

School Library Journal


Gr 7 Up—Fifteen-year-old Candy's family is barely getting by, with her mother near death and a father who would rather drink and gamble than pay bills. She trusts no one and is close to dropping out of school when she meets Carlos, her bookish Latino 18-year-old neighbor, who lends a sympathetic ear. As their friendship deepens, they discover that Candy's father is involved in an illegal dogfighting scheme to make money. With Carlos's help, Candy takes a brave stand to save the dogs and herself. This novella is a dog story like no other, told with brutal honesty by both Candy and Bear, the "big and bad" canine protagonist. Bear's descriptions of life with a family, on the street, and in the shelter are expertly written with the heightened senses of a dog. The dog fight scenes are just as vivid and not for the faint of heart. The author's commitment to accuracy is a shocking look into a bloody, inhumane, underground world. The parallel cruelty in Candy's life is equally crushing, but a few kind minor characters keep readers hopeful that she will persevere. Poet Scotti gives voice to the most helpless creatures in a heart-wrenching story of pain and redemption. Candy's appearance isn't described. VERDICT Readers will feel every emotion and be compelled to read more of Scotti's work, as only a seasoned poet could take them on such a powerful journey in so few words.—Jane Miller, Nashville P.L.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781680031966
Publisher: Texas Review Press
Publication date: 03/30/2020
Pages: 138
Sales rank: 578,398
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

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