Saint Iggy

Saint Iggy

by K. L. Going

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Overview

When Iggy Corso gets kicked out of high school, there's no one for him to tell. His mother has gone off, his father is stoned on the couch, and the phone's been disconnected, so even the social worker can't get through. Leaving his public housing behind, Iggy ventures into the world to make something of his life. It's not easy when you're sixteen, have no skills, and your only friend is mixed up with the dealer who got your mom hooked. But Iggy is . . . Iggy, and he has the kind of wisdom that lets him see what no one else can.
Includes an author's note.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780152062484
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 05/01/2008
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 823,146
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile: 1090L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

K. L. GOING is the author of Fat Kid Rules the World, a Printz Honor Book, and The Liberation of Gabriel King. She lives and writes full-time in Glen Spey, New York.

Read an Excerpt

1.


So I got kicked out

So I got kicked out of school today,
which is not so great but

also not entirely unexpected, and I went back to Public Housing where I live to tell my parents all about it but my mom went visiting someone or other and probably isn’t coming back and my dad is stoned off his ass on the couch like he always is, so somehow I’m not getting the vibe that he’d really, you know, care, so I think, Here’s what I’m going to do: First I’ve got to make a plan. And this is part of the plan—making a plan—so really I’m doing good already.

If my dad was awake part of the plan would be telling him about the trouble at school so he would know it was not entirely my fault. This is how it happened:

Me (coming in late to Spanish class because I followed a hot new girl): Can I sit here?

Mrs. Brando
(confused): I think you have the wrong classroom.

Me (correctly): No, I’m in this class.

Mrs. Brando
(really patronizing): Son, it is December and I have not seen you in this class even once before, so I don’t know what classroom you are looking for. Are you new here, too?

Me (being real patient): Nooo, I am in this class and if you’d just check your list from the beginning of the year you’d see that. (under my breath really freaking quietly) Bitch.

Mrs. Brando
(flipping out): Are you threatening me? Do you have a weapon? Are you on drugs? Someone get the principal. Call security. Help! Help! Help!


Then all the other teachers come in because they think I’m going to pull a Columbine, and everyone’s asking what happened only no one’s asking me and in Mrs. Brando’s version of it, I moved like I was going to hit her or maybe pull something out of my jacket, and even though hitting someone and pulling something out of your jacket require two totally different hand motions, the one being an up and out motion and the other being a down and in motion, no one comes to my defense and instead everyone in the classroom nods in agreement with Mrs. Brando’s story and you would think they didn’t know me all these years, the traitors.

Then the security guy pushes my face into the concrete wall, and after that he drags me to the principal’s office and Principal Olmos talks to me for a long time.

"Remember how you wanted to drop Spanish for metal shop?" he asks, tapping his desk.

I don’t remember.

"Do you remember?"

I look at the ceiling and the floor and the walls.

"Did you think about your actions before you went into that classroom?"

I thought about the hot new girl.

Principal Olmos shakes his head. "Don’t be silent now," he tells me. "The only time you cease talking is when you should be making an attempt to better yourself—participating in class, for example, or explaining your actions, which frankly, are largely incomprehensible."

I wonder why I am incomprehensible because everything I do makes perfect sense to me.

"Umm," I start, "’cause, see, I was just going in there to learn some Spanish because I changed my mind about things and I wasn’t going to hit anyone—Mrs. Brando is just an old . . . uhh, teacher, and . . ."

Principal Olmos holds up one hand.

"Actually," he says, taking a deep breath, "it’s too late." He shakes his head again.

"It’s time to start thinking about your future outside of this high school. Mrs. Brando wants to file serious charges—charges that should warrant police involvement . . ." He looks me right in the eye like I am going D-O-W-N, then he breaks the look.

"But we’re not going to go that route," he says. "I’ll speak to Mrs. Brando about not involving the police, but that’s the best I can do. I’m afraid I’ll be recommending to the school superintendent that your time at Carver High be terminated."

Now my eyes get big, because what does he mean—terminated?

"There will be a hearing within the next five days to officially determine your status. If your parents wish to hire an attorney, of course they are welcome to do so, but given your past suspensions, your disciplinary history, the number of times you’ve had detention this year alone, and of course the incident with the spray painting, I think the outcome is virtually certain."

I think, Oh, so terminated means "over." And it is not like I didn’t see this coming, but this time I can tell it is real so my mind wanders and I start thinking how the girl wasn’t even that hot and my parents will never show up to a hearing and what will I amount to anyway?

". . . tried to contact your parents," Principal Olmos is saying, "but as usual we can’t reach them . . ."

I could beg.


". . . can’t tolerate the threat of violence in schools these days . . ."

I could offer him money, only I don’t have any.

". . . clearly not suited for this environment. Perhaps a technical school . . ."

Maybe I will say I was on drugs so they will decide to help me, only this may not work because I already have a social worker and everyone thinks I am on drugs even though I’m not, and it has not helped me once yet.


"Are you listening?"

I look up and Principal Olmos is looking like he feels sorry about everything, so I don’t say any of the things I thought about saying and I don’t even beg for mercy. I just sit there thinking how I screwed up again and that’s when I want to fucking cry, or maybe hit someone, because even though I am not so great a student, I am not harmful and if they gave me another chance I would do okay, I swear.

Then Principal Olmos looks at me for a long time, and finally he sighs and says, "Honestly, I believe you’re a good kid."

He leans across his desk.

"Lots of people around here don’t think that, but I do," he says. "You’ve had a lot to overcome in your life, but that’s no excuse for poor discipline. We can all make something of ourselves, no matter what our situation. We can do something that contributes to the world, live a life that has meaning. Do you believe that?"

I’ve never thought about meaning—not even once—but I nod because, okay, whatever.

Principal Olmos stands up and closes my folder. "You’ll have to stay here until the end of the school day while we continue trying to contact your parents. If we can’t reach them I’ll have the social worker come by your house to deliver an official letter stating you have out-of-school suspension pending a hearing." He pauses. "I’m . . . sorry."

He reaches out to shake my hand like we are both adults and I am not a kid or a student anymore, and that’s when it hits me that I am on my own, which is scary because even though I’m sixteen I am only a freshman and that is too soon to get kicked out. Plus, I have no skills, and if you do not graduate high school and you have no skills then you are shit out of luck.

So I decide that Principal Olmos is wrong about the hearing and even though he thinks it is a done deal I will make a plan. And the kind of plan I will make is a How-to-Change-Everyone’s-Mind-About-Me plan since Principal Olmos is the only one who thinks I am a decent guy, but really, I am not so bad a person once you get to know me.


Copyright © 2006 by K. L. Going

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be submitted online at www.harcourt.com/contact or mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc.,
6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

What People are Saying About This

Booklist

* "The author...avoids heavy symbolism and message by grounding her story in realistic, grimly vivid, urban details, and she creates a memorable character in Iggy...Teens will connect with Iggy's powerful sense that although he notices everything, he is not truly seen and accepted himself."  --Booklist (September 15, 2006 - starred review)

Washington Post Book World

"In a carefully crafted novel that makes metaphors out of everything from dead-end streets to a doorman's casual query...K.L. Going tracks her hero on his quest to ''do good'' in both senses of the phrase... Going folds it all into her larger story of urban redemption without sentimentalizing any of it--or goodness either--and Iggy's wry humor keeps the lurking didacticism in check."  --Washington Post Book World (October 1, 2006)

School Library Journal

* "Iggy Corso is unforgettable." --School Library Journal (September 2006) (starred review)

Customer Reviews

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Saint Iggy 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
elissajanine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book has such a strong sense of character--that "voice" is really compelling. It's a fast read, and I like it that here and there a line would jump out at me and really pull me into the book emotionally. I was a bit disappointed with the ending, though it had a lot of potential and some interesting imagery.
mdomsky on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was very well written, but too depressing for me to enjoy. It would appeal to those who like literary or problem fiction.
smarks2008 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Iggy is kicked out of school because of being a "problem student." He wants to make things right but that is not easy for a kid who lives in the projects, has an absent drug addicted mom and an alcoholic dad. Throw in a violent drug dealer and a pot head friend, and Iggy's journey to make things right is off to a rocky start.
alice443 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found this book very difficult to enjoy or to like. Iggy is a like able character and seeing his life that is clearly without hope, is painful.
baachan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In Saint Iggy, Iggy Corso gets kicked out of school--suspended, really, but the hearing's on Friday and it could be permanent--for trying to get back into a class that he'd dropped earlier in the semester. He turns to his mentor, Mo, who after scoring a mishmash of drugs on credit, takes Iggy back to his mother's apartment. Mo's mother offers to help Iggy, while Mo decides to exploit Iggy's situation to try to get $2000 to pay off Freddie, the dealer. All while this is going on, Iggy's trying to figure out what he can to to "contribute," to show that he's a good person and should be let back into school. It's kind of a "what am I doing with my life" theme, but it's more goal-oriented than that--Iggy wants to get back into school, desperately--but then he makes a different choice, and decides there's another way for him to "contribute." K.L.Going has created a quality character here; he's a little unbelievably naive and the reader may find herself bemoaning the choices Iggy makes--you can see the unhappy ending coming from a mile off. However, Going's created a world for Iggy that he fits seamlessly into. One plot feature that was interesting--Iggy doesn't use drugs. He's like a DARE ambassador, showing the reader all the evils that come from drug abuse. I've rated it 4 stars out of 5, because while it was a good read, there was something about the book that didn't feel realistic--after trying so hard to craft a realistic look at poverty, Going switches to a depiction of the ultra-wealthy, and it just falls flat. Nonetheless, recommended for purchase for teen collections at the public library. School libraries may want to exercise caution because of the heavy drug use, but nothing is overly graphic. Would be appropriate for upper secondary school students.
WittyreaderLI on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Iggy comes from an extremely broken family. His mother is MIA, his father is drunk all of the time. His best friend is a druggie and a law school drop out and he's been expelled from school. But Iggy wants to change. He's willing to do whatever it takes. This book was a very quick read but it struck me hard. Iggy is a wonderful and sympathetic character who really only means to do good in the world.
mattsya on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Iggy is a very sympathetic character, one of those for whom everything that can go wrong does go wrong. The novel does get bogged slightly in the typical YA dramatic melodrama, but Going creates a very believeable character in Iggy with a great, strong voice.
Jenson_AKA_DL on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Iggy has been kicked out of school. Not because of anything he really did wrong (except follow a hot girl into a class that he "used" to be in), but because of the teacher and his classmate's preconceived notions of who he is. Iggy doesn't want to be kicked out of school and embarks on a quest that he hopes will help him contribute to society and thus be allowed to return to school. Iggy's search for exactly how to contribute leads him to some unusual places, including a church, a hair salon and a board meeting.Saint Iggy is the story of how beauty can exist where you least expect it. Iggy himself is in turns hardened by his own life with drug addicted parents and is innocent and sweet by his wonder and facination in the world that surrounds him. Iggy is a character who will stay with you for a long time. This book was very well written and you can't help but hope that in the end Iggy will find his way to where he wants to go.
edspicer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Many readers are not aware of the ESP award. Previous winners are A Room on Lorelei Street by Mary Pearson and Heck Superhero by Martine Leavitt. Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting is the book that inspired the ESP award. This year a retrospective award was given to the late Carol Fenner for King of Dragons. What is the ESP award? It is the book that is published each year that strikes the cord of honesty and is also the book that comes closest to being my autobiography. Saint Iggy is this year¿s winner of the Ed Spicer Personal book award! I am not a crack baby, but Iggy¿s dysfunctional family that did not attend school functions, rings a cord. My mother did not abandon me, but for many years she was in denial about my father¿s addiction to alcohol. Like Iggy, I am consumed with ¿plans¿ and about doing something important with my life. Unlike Iggy, I have probably not said anything as beautiful as: ¿Maybe it comes from a color circle, where you can see the world in every single color. Then when you step out again, nothing looks the same as it did when you went in.¿ (p. 154). Iggy says this when he realizes that how we view people and the world depends on our own experiences. Adults almost (Olmos) help us; maybe they even help with details, but our own synthesis of how the world works is ours alone. Like many teens, Iggy falls victim to peer pressure. In Iggy¿s case, it is his friend Mo. Mo is from a wealthy family, but he is rebelling against his family, especially his lawyer father. Mo believes that Iggy¿s world holds truths that his materialistic parents just cannot see. Mo decides that the world would be better if people renounce the wasteful, consumeristic approach to living¿like the world Iggy knows. Iggy is smart enough to conclude that Mo doesn¿t even know what he doesn¿t know. Mo is clueless when it comes to evaluating Iggy¿s world, a place that Iggy must stay because he does not have that rich family to bail him out. Saint Iggy pokes at the sores in our society: Social workers who have no clue about the kids or neighborhoods in which they live, schools and administrations who have too many students to probe deeply (despite being decent, multi-layered characters like Mr. Olmos); and families that refuse to see obvious truths like drug addiction. It is a book that is popular with teens and it is a book that is filled with fundamental truth, an ESP winner! Congratulations Ms Going!
theteenspot on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Iggy Corso doesn't know what to do with his life after being kicked out of high school. He's basically a good kid but can't overcome the pain of his mother taking off and seeing his drunken father sprawled on the couch in their slum apartment. When Iggy meets up with his friend, Mo, things really start to take a turn, like paying off a drug dealer, finding out about Mo's secret wealth, and getting back into high school to make something of his life instead of ending up like his parents. It is never an easy decision.
srcsmgrl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I would like to introduce Saint Iggy by KL Going. My fellow TSL's will have at least heard of it and most have read Fat Kid Rules the World, which was by the same author. I enjoyed both books, but the second has transcended the first. KL Going has dropped all the gimicky trappings that she used to sell the first book and has really given us a look into the life of a child less fortunate. Born in the projects addicted to meth, Iggy wants to show everyone that he is a good person. He wants people to look past his druggie parents, ugly neighborhood and odd personality to see who he really is: a real person who does not do drugs or drink and wants to do good with his life. Let down by the system and his friends, Iggy falls into an selfless act that is both more and less than he had planned.
marnattij on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Poor Iggy. After getting kicked out of school, he just wants to do something good with his life. Trouble is, he just doesn't know how. Everything he tries gets him in to even more trouble until he turns up at the home of his friend's mother. She sees the good in Iggy (sort of miraculously) and tries to steer him on the right path. Iggy is determined though -- he wants to be a saint. And, as we all know, you can't become a saint until you are dead.Realist, sobering, and very good.
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TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Iggy Corso isn't a bad kid. He's not that bright, and he often does and says things long before thinking through the consequences of his actions, but he isn't inherently bad. Iggy is the product of his upbringing, which includes an alcoholic father, a junkie mother, and life in the projects. His school file is crammed with notations regarding his run-ins with security, teachers, and the principal. But this time, Iggy's been expelled from high school pending a hearing with the Superintendent, and there's no one around for him to tell--no one around, in fact, to even care.

Iggy, though, has a plan. He'll contribute to the world, will somehow make a difference in these few short days before Christmas and his school hearing, and convince everyone--from his parents to Principal Olmos--that they were wrong about him. The first part of Iggy's plan involves getting out of the Projects, so he goes to the only other place he knows, which is the dump where his friend Mo lives. Mo was kicked out of college, where he was studying pre-law, for smoking pot, and now he lives in an apartment with a broken window and ratty furniture, alternately stoned and renouncing all material hings. But Iggy needs Mo's help to get him back into school, so he follows him along when Mo decides to get a line of credit on some pot.

Iggy doesn't do drugs. Everything thinks he does, because of his home life, but being born addicted to crack did more to Iggy than just slow down his brain. He's seen firsthand how it affects his family, especially his mother, who has been gone for months now "visiting" someone. He's seen Freddie, his father's dealer, break his father's fingers when his dad didn't have the money to pay for his drugs. So although Iggy doesn't do drugs, he goes along with Mo when he needs some pot--and realizes that his plan isn't going very well when Mo goes straight to Freddie. When Mo gets his pot, along with some other "free samples" on a line of credit, Iggy realizes that getting back into school might be the least of his problems.

But now it's Mo's turn for a plan--he needs a couple grand to pay off Freddie, so he'll go to his mother, who has more money than she knows what to do with. But that doesn't turn out exactly right, either, and soon Iggy is involved in yet another scheme involving drugs, a dealer, and a friend. For Iggy, who isn't a bad kid but also isn't Mother Teresa, there's a fine line between contributing to the world and making something of yourself.

SAINT IGGY is a great, heartbreaking read. From the beginning, you can't help but wish a better life for Iggy, all the while knowing, somehow, that things aren't going to end up the way you want them to. Iggy is a boy who has somehow fallen through the cracks, and yet he manages to bring a sense of hope to every situation he finds himself in. Ms. Going has done a wonderful job of bringing Iggy Corso to life, and you'll be forever grateful for the chance of getting to know him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Iggy Corso isn't a bad kid. He's not that bright, and he often does and says things long before thinking through the consequences of his actions, but he isn't inherently bad. Iggy is the product of his upbringing, which includes an alcoholic father, a junkie mother, and life in the Projects. His school file is crammed with notations regarding his run-ins with security, teachers, and the principal. But this time, Iggy's been expelled from high school pending a hearing with the Superintendent, and there's no one around for him to tell--no one around, in fact, to even care. Iggy, though, has a plan. He'll contribute to the world, will somehow make a difference in these few short days before Christmas and his school hearing, and convince everyone--from his parents to Principal Olmos--that they were wrong about him. The first part of Iggy's plan involves getting out of the Projects, so he goes to the only other place he knows, which is the dump where his friend Mo lives. Mo was kicked out of college, where he was studying pre-law, for smoking pot, and now he lives in an apartment with a broken window and ratty furniture, alternately stoned and renouncing all material things. But Iggy needs Mo's help to get him back into school, so he follows him along when Mo decides to get a line of credit on some pot. Iggy doesn't do drugs. Everything thinks he does, because of his home life, but being born addicted to crack did more to Iggy than just slow down his brain. He's seen firsthand how it affects his family, especially his mother, who has been gone for months now 'visiting' someone. He's seen Freddie, his father's dealer, break his father's fingers when his dad didn't have the money to pay for his drugs. So although Iggy doesn't do drugs, he goes along with Mo when he needs some pot--and realizes that his plan isn't going very well when Mo goes straight to Freddie. When Mo gets his pot, along with some other 'free samples' on a line of credit, Iggy realizes that getting back into school might be the least of his problems. But now it's Mo's turn for a plan--he needs a couple grand to pay off Freddie, so he'll go to his mother, who has more money than she knows what to do with. But that doesn't turn out exactly right, either, and soon Iggy is involved in yet another scheme involving drugs, a dealer, and a friend. For Iggy, who isn't a bad kid but also isn't Mother Teresa, there's a fine line between contributing to the world and making something of yourself. SAINT IGGY is a great, heartbreaking read. From the beginning, you can't help but wish a better life for Iggy, all the while knowing, somehow, that things aren't going to end up the way you want them to. Iggy is a boy who has somehow fallen through the cracks, and yet he manages to bring a sense of hope to every situation he finds himself in. Ms. Going has done a wonderful job of bringing Iggy Corso to life, and you'll be forever grateful for the chance of getting to know him.
Awesomeness1 More than 1 year ago
This book was very slow and boring. It wasn't enteraining, and I didn't particularly like the characters or the story. I could barely finish it. The ending was also very sad.