Forged by Fire (Hazelwood High Trilogy #2)

Forged by Fire (Hazelwood High Trilogy #2)

by Sharon M. Draper

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

Will Gerald find the courage to stand up to his stepfather?

When his loving aunt dies, Gerald suddenly is thrust into a new home filled with anger and abuse. A brutal stepfather with a flaming temper and an evil secret makes Gerald miserable, and the only light in his grim life is Angel, his young stepsister. Gerald and Angel grow close as he strives to protect her from Jordan, his abusive stepfather, and from their substance-addicted mother. But Gerald learns, painfully, that his post can't be extinguished, and that he must be strong enough to face Jordan in a final confrontation, once and for all....

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442489141
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 07/23/2013
Series: Hazelwood High Trilogy Series , #2
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 151
Sales rank: 35,995
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 12 - 18 Years

About the Author

Sharon M. Draper is a New York Times bestselling author and recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring her significant and lasting contribution to writing for teens. She has received the Coretta Scott King Award for both Copper Sun and Forged by Fire, and was most recently awarded the Charlotte Huck Award for Stella by Starlight. Her novel Out of My Mind has won multiple awards and was a New York Times bestseller for over three years. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she taught high school English for twenty-five years and was named National Teacher of the Year. Visit her at SharonDraper.com.

Read an Excerpt

Forged By Fire
ONE
“IF YOU DON’T sit your stinkin’, useless butt back down in that shopping cart, I swear I’ll bust your greasy face in!” she screamed at the three-year-old in front of her. He studied her face, decided she was serious, and put his leg back inside the cart. He was standing near the front end of the cart, amidst an assorted pile of cigarette boxes, egg cartons, and pop bottles. He didn’t want to sit down anyway because of the soft, uncomfortable load in his pants, which had been there all afternoon and which felt cold and squishy when he moved too much. He rarely had accidents like that, but when he did, Mama sometimes made him keep it in his pants all day to “teach him a lesson.”

Gerald was only three, but he had already learned many such lessons. He’d never seen Sesame Street, never heard of Riverfront Stadium—he didn’t even know he lived in Cincinnati. But he knew the important things—like never mess with Mama when she was in bed—Mama got really mad when you woke her up, especially if she had somebody in bed with her. And never touch the hot thing that Mama used to light her cigarettes, even if the mysterious orange-and-blue fire that comes out of it liked to tease you and dance for only a moment before running away.

Mama had once caught Gerald playing with the lighter, and she made the fire come out and she held his hand right over the flame. It wasn’t his friendly fire dancer, though, but a cruel red soldier that made his hand scream and made him dizzy with pain and he could smell something like the meat Mama cooked, but it was his hand. When she stopped, she had washed his hand with cool water and soothed him with warm hugs and wrapped with salve and bandages the place where the fire soldier had stabbed him. She told him that she had done it for his own good and to teach him a lesson. He had tried to tell her that he was just trying to find the fire dancer, but she wasn’t listening and he had given up, thankful for the hugs and the silence.

One other lesson that Gerald had learned was never, never stay near Mama when she sniffed the white stuff. She got it from a man named Leroy who smelled too sweet and smiled too much. When he leaves, you hide behind the couch and hope Aunt Queen comes over because sometimes Mama yells and gets her belt or her shoe and hits, and hits, and hits.... And sometimes she just goes to sleep on the floor and it gets dark and you cry and your tummy feels tight and hurty, but at least there’s no shoe to run away from.

Once Aunt Queen had found Gerald curled up behind the couch sucking his thumb. His pajamas were soaked and smelly and he was shivering and hungry. Mama had been gone all day. She had told him not to leave the room, and he had really, really tried to be good, but he was so cold, so very cold. Aunt Queen had taken him to her apartment and given him a warm bath, a bowl of hot soup, and some warm, fuzzy sleepers, even though she had to pin the back of them so they wouldn’t fall off. Then Mama had come and she and Aunt Queen had yelled and screamed so much that Gerald had to hold his ears while he lay curled at the foot of the bed. Finally Mama started crying and Aunt Queen was saying stuff like, “I know, honey,” and Gerald knew he was going back home.

That night, Mama had hugged him and kissed him and held him close until he fell asleep. Gerald had felt so warm and special and golden—he wanted to feel like that forever. He knew his mama loved him. She had bought him a G.I. Joe man last week and it wasn’t even his birthday or Christmas or anything, and most days she combed his hair and dressed him in clean clothes, and told him to say, “Yes, ma’am” to grown folks. And sometimes, on really good days, she would hug him and say, “You know you’re my best baby boy, don’t you, Gerald? You know you’re my baby, don’t you?” And he would smile and that warm, golden feeling would start at his toes and fill him all the way up to his smile.

Even though Mama had yelled at him, today was a good day. Mama always yelled—it was no big deal. (Some days he yelled back at her. Then she would slap him and he’d cry and he’d cuss at her and then she would slap him until his head hurt. So mostly he ignored her.) But today was a good day, a shiny day, he thought. The sun was bright gold outside against a clear blue sky. And inside the grocery store there were so many colors and sounds and lights that Gerald just grinned. It was always crowded when they went. Other children would be in carts also and they would have to pass very close to each other. Gerald liked to pretend he was driving a big, fine silver car down the expressway.

Sometimes the cart would be a tank, as he passed cautiously through rows of armed cling peaches and silent sentinels that looked like boxes of Frosted Flakes. And at the checkout lane, the armies rolled smoothly down the long black road that disappeared under the counter. He started to ask Mama where it went, but it was more fun to imagine that it went to a secret hideout where only sweet potatoes and boxes of oatmeal were allowed.

When they got home from the grocery store, Gerald sat on the floor and watched Mama stack the boxes and cans on the shelf. She was whistling—he had never heard her whistle before and he loved the way she laughed as he tried to imitate her. She changed his clothes (and didn’t even yell at him for not being a big boy) and gave him two cookies and an apple. Then she went into the other room. When she came out, she had changed her clothes and Gerald thought he had never seen anything so lovely. She had on her sparkly fancy dress that Gerald liked to touch.

“Mama will be right back, baby,” she told him. “I just have to go see Mr. Leroy for a minute. You stay right here and wait for me, you hear?” Gerald started to cry, but he didn’t want Mama to lose her good mood, so he just nodded and bit his lip. The door closed and he could hear her high heels clicking on the steps. Then it was very, very quiet.

After he finished both his cookies and the apple had turned brown on the white parts, Gerald looked for something to do. It was getting dark and he wanted G.I. Joe to sit with him because the shadows on the wall were getting long and scary. He found G.I. Joe on the floor next to Mama’s bed, right next to the cigarette lighter that she had been looking for this morning. Gerald picked it up and for a time he used it as a gun for Joe, then it was a log for Joe to jump over, then it was an enemy for Joe to attack.

Finally Gerald started idly flicking the little red handle. At first is just made a scratchy sound and the smell made him cough and remember how he’d got that brown place in the palm of his hand. Then he remembered the tiny fire dancer, and he wondered if it still lived in there with the fire-sword soldier.

After numerous flicks, he got the fire to stay on. He grinned with delight. The dancer was there, smiling at him and bowing for him, changing from splendid orange to icy green to iridescent purple. The lighter flame flickered magically, making golden the purple shadows on the wall.

With sudden inspiration, Gerald shouted, “Hey Joe, we got a torch!” as he and G.I. Joe marched around the kitchen table. Gerald crawled under the table then, flicking the lighter over and over again to light the way for G.I. Joe. They fought shadows and monsters; they blew up cities and kingdoms. Gerald made the sound effects and G.I. Joe dutifully followed his general into combat. As the mighty battle came to its climax, Gerald crawled up on a chair and stood on the kitchen table, waving his arms triumphantly. Mama would kill me, he thought momentarily, if she saw me up here, but the thought passed as G.I. Joe fought the terrible mountain man by the light of only a single torch.

Suddenly the tiny light of G.I. Joe’s torch was huge and bright as the tip of one curtain in the window touched the flame. Gerald heard a loud whoosh and then he turned in terror to see the whole window covered with harsh red flames that crawled and licked and jumped along the windowsill. Gerald scrambled down from the table and ran to his hiding place behind the couch. Mama said stay here and wait for her, he told himself. I know she’ll be here in a minute. He peeked around the corner of the sofa and watched flames consume the boxes of cereal and macaroni that Mama had just bought. When the fire reached the bottle of Big K soda, Gerald watched, fascinated, as the soda bubbled, then fizzed. When it finally burst in a loud, sizzling explosion, Gerald jumped back behind the sofa, coughing and wheezing from the heat and smoke.

He curled up in his usual position then, thumb in his mouth, crying softly. He thought about his mama and how pretty she was. He wondered if G.I. Joe would ever find his way back. And he wondered how he could see so many colors with his eyes closed.

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Forged by Fire 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 329 reviews.
CHRISSY_09 More than 1 year ago
THE NOVEL FORGED BY FIRE IS YET THE BEST BOOK IVE READ IT IS A CONTEMPORARY REALISTIC FICTION. THE STORY TAKES PLACE IN CINCINNATI, OHIO ABOUT A THREE YEAR OLD BOY NAMED GERALD WHO ALWAYS GETS NEGLECTED AND ABUSED BY HIS MOTHER WHO IS A STRUGGLING ALCOHOLIC AND DRUG USER. THE AUTHOR REALLY GOES INTO GREAT DETAIL ON WHAT THE THREE YEAR OLD IS EXPERIENCING AND BRINGS EMOTION TO HER READERS. THE MAIN CHARACTER GERALD SOON FINDS HIMSELF A OLDER LOVING, CARING 12 YEAR OLD LIVING WITH HIS AUNT. GERALD WHO HAS ALREADY BEEN THROUGH MORE THAN ANY 12 YEAR OLD HAS IS SOON TO LEARN THAT ITS ONLY THE BEGINNING. THE AUTHOR BRINGS INTO THE STORY A SISTER GERALD SOON REALIZES HE HAS AND BECOMES A VERY CARING PROTECTIVE BROTHER TOWARD HER. GERALD WAS SET AS A STRONG CHARACTER DIDN'T LOSE HIMSELF THROUGH HIS MANY STRUGGLES AND DID WHAT HE HAD TO DO TO KEEP HIMSELF AND HIS LITTLE SISTER ANGEL SAFE. THE AUTHOR HAS BROUGHT THIS STRONG MESSAGE ACROSS THE READERS BECAUSE GERALD IN THE END HAS NOT BROKEN OR GAVE UP HE JUST GROWS STRONGER. THIS NOVEL IN GENERAL WILL REMAIN A FAVORITE FOR ME IT HAS BEEN YET THE ONLY BOOK THAT HAS KEPT ME READING PAGE AFTER PAGE WITHOUT STOPPING. THE AUTHOR DOES A GREAT DEAL OF BRINGING HER READERS TO FEEL AND UNDERSTAND WHAT THE CHARACTERS ARE GOING THROUGH.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It was addictive! I finished it in 2 days, which is good 4 me. I recommend it to kids 12 and up :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Therr great i really enjoyed would like to contiune reading it *
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Good. I could not belive it. It was so touching. Best book i have ever read in my life
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I remember reading this book when i was in elementary school. it has stuck with me throughout the years since (about 15).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever! This book will have you feeling sad happy and angry you should totally read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As before in Tears of a Tiger, the author has grabbed the reader's attention throughout the entire book. Each book in the trilogoy presents terrifingly reall situations that happen more often than thought. This book honeslty made me realize that my life is not has hard as I once tought it to be. These books gave a whole new perspective on life, no matter how chlice' that is. -Book Beast
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a good book. We are reading this. I just had to buy it for myself.
WillMaske More than 1 year ago
Forged by Fire was a very good book to me because it had a lot read about and kept you wondering on what’s going to happen next. It also had a lot you can learn from, such as drugs, violence, alcohol, etc. (a brief summary) This book is about a 3 year old kid named Gerald who lived in a small Cincinnati apartment with his widowed/drug addicted mother. Even as a 3 year old child he is faced with challenges having to do with his mom. He hides behind his couch because he thinks it’s a spot where he can hide from all his troubles. Since Gerald’s mom is a drug addict she has lighters lying around the apartment. Gerald starts playing with one while his mom was out getting drugs and ends up starting his whole apartment on fire. He ends up living with his Aunt Queen because his mom was sent to jail. After 6 years of living with his aunt his mom finally comes home from jail, with a husband. Gerald moves in with his mom and her husband, Jordan, along with Jordan’s daughter. As time goes by things just start getting worse for all of them, and causes tragic accidents to happen. I chose this book because it seemed like it would be thrilling to read. I was right; it was one of the best books I’ve read in a while. i do not like reading, but after reading this book I’m sure i will be reading a lot more books like this one. It has all types of entertainment for the reader. Also, this book is good because it is a realistic fiction. This book relates to our modern world today. It can be related to all different types of families and there issues with other friends or family members. I highly recommend reading this book and also sharing it to other people.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great book to read but make sure you read the first book, Tears of a Tiger.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hazelwood High series gets better and better . ! I lllovee how you get to know almost each charecters backround. I read this book today, I just couldent put the book down. ALL HAIL SHARON . !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story is about a young boy who eventually becomes a man. He starts off very young, while he was abused constantly by his mother who apparently had a drug promblem there seemed no help was near. One day he was left home alone as a child and burned the house down and almost killed hiself in the process. Child protective services took him, and he was then raised by his aunt queen. This lady was tough and very diciplinary and raaised gerald to be a strong, and responsible young man. She was poor but she did the best she could to provide for Gerald. Six years later his mother got out of prison and decided to pay him a visit and to get gerald back, but he refused. That same day aunt queen had a heart attack, and Gerald was forced to stay with his mom. He seen a lot of bad things, which later came to the surface and was confronted. He couold not do it by hiself, but with help they were later solved. I choose this book because i heard it was a good book, and it was a really recommend the reading of this book to others its worth it.
LunaPeachie More than 1 year ago
We had to read this book in middle school, but it stays with me even today as an adult. Fire is used both metaphorically and physically in this book. Fire is what tears Gerald's family apart and fire is what brings it together. I highly recommend this to any young reader. A good author can make the reader see themselves in a character and Miss Draper does that flawlessly. A young reader will see themselves in Gerald. You'll feel his struggle to protect his sister and the fire that burns in him when he has to face the monster that is his step-father. Read it, I promise you'll love it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Geralds moms on crack(crackhead)he gets in an acedent his aunut take charge for 6 year mom comes back with agle her daddys an abuser.its intens
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This Is The Best Book Ive Read All Year
andrew-p More than 1 year ago
I liked the book a lot. I enjoyed following the main character, Gerald through his childhood.   He has a good heart for his sister and would not let anything happen to her and when something did happen he would take it into his own hands to protect her.
Mkjajaja More than 1 year ago
This book kind like make me bored in some part because something kind like already happened and still over again but some part it makes me can imagine about that situation.So this is the good book that can make the people follow about the situation.
Kendall2 More than 1 year ago
I though that this book was very good. It has some very hard parts. By saying that I mean the kids went trough some things that they should not have  had to go through. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was exiting when Gerald grows up and fights for his own fight. And helps Angle when they are having problems with Jordan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a touching story that will leave you haning until the end.
Laura_16 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Forged by Fire was the first interesting book
BxsBestChica on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Forged By Fire is a great book that has to do with teens going through teen everyday problems. It shows that not evrybody has such and great life and has to go through alot of problems. Not evryboydy's life is perfect.
mbuch on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The protagonist, Gerald, is a 3-year-old in the first two chapters where we learn about his mother and her poor parenting skills, as a result of her drug abuse and selfish nature. Gerald's mother goes to jail after leaving him alone and the house catching fire while she is out doing drugs. The rest of the book unfolds just as expected. As a teenager, Gerald is put in a terrible situation while living with his abusive step-father and submissive, pathetic mother, and sadly his sexually abused half-sister Angel. This book was poorly planned and written. It lacked depth and description and contained a predictable, annoyingly predictable plot and resolution. I hated the author's weak character development and use of an unlikely combination of character traits. The mother, Monique, was selfish, naive, and foolish to the point of ridiculous, disgusting, and being a completely unbelievable character. The stepfather, Jordan, and younger sister, Angel, also lacked believability, which made the book even less entertaining. The events and outcomes were typical of a sappy soap-opera or low-budget Lifetime movie.I will not be reading any more books by Sharon Draper. She is a terrible writer with weak ideas and voice and no ability of producing any elements found in quality literature.
DF1A_JaleahH on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Forged by fire by Sharon Draper, is a great book. I recommend it to anyone it¿s a young adult novel it the second book in the Hazelwood High trilogy. Its Gerald¿s story, it will touch your heart in many different ways it¿s his struggle with his life changes; and his little sisters too. So let me tell you about it. Gerald¿s mother takes him home from the grocery store changes his clothes and tells him to play. His mother is addicted to drugs so she then leaves him in the house by himself. For Gerald its scary but that¿s when the big adventure starts. He finds a lighter and sets the house on fire by accident and that¿s where the whole story unfolds.