Tap Out

Tap Out

by Eric Devine


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Seventeen-year-old Tony Antioch lives in Pleasant Meadows, a trailer park where questions aren't asked since everyone already knows the answers from their own experience. He dreams of rescuing his mother from her constant stream of abusive boyfriends but in reality can barely duck the punches that are aimed at himself.

When Tony is coerced into joining his friend Rob's Mixed Martial Arts class, he is surprised to find that he has a talent that he actually wants to develop. But with a meth-dealing biker gang that is hungry for recruits and a vicious cycle of poverty and violence that precedes him, Tony is going to need a lot more than blood and guts to find a way out.

Gritty, powerful, and unapologetic, Tap Out explores what it takes to stay true to oneself and the consequences of the choices made along the way in order to do so.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780762445691
Publisher: Running Press Book Publishers
Publication date: 09/11/2012
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Eric Devine is currently a writer, high school English teacher, and educational consultant. He is also the author of This Side of Normal, a novel about a teen struggling with type 1 diabetes. He lives in Waterford, New York, with his family, and can be found online at ericdevine.org and on Twitter @eric_devine.

Read an Excerpt

Tap Out

By Eric Devine

Running Press Kids

Copyright © 2012 Eric Devine
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780762445691

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.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Tap Out 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's fowl, it's hard-core, and it's scary, because in true Devine fashion, it's REAL. It's eye-opening to the horrible life some people are thrust into. This will shed light on the nightmare. Hopefully everyone is wise enough to accept it, and share it, and encourage others to read it. I'm telling everyone I know, because this guy knows what he's talking about.
BethFehlbaum More than 1 year ago
Eric Devine's TAP OUT is a searing, unforgettable read. When I compare TAP OUT to S.E. Hinton's groundbreaking THE OUTSIDERS, I do not do so lightly. This book is absolutely amazing. Tony Antioch is a 17 year old facing decisions that no person of any age should have to make. Trapped by circumstances wholly outside of his control, Tony is representative of countless real-life young adults dealing with unimaginable horrors. This book should be required reading for anyone working with impoverished, disenfranchised youth. Even though it's fiction, it will give insight into what many of our students are dealing with. In reading TAP OUT, I was reminded of a speech given by one of the original Freedom Writers, when he explained that so many school days when he didn't have his homework, it was because he had been up all night taking care of his mother after she was beaten nearly to death by his father. As a teacher, I hope that TAP OUT will open some hearts to what others endure on a daily basis; as a reader, I found TAP OUT to be a heart-pounding piece of extraordinary fiction! Looking forward to more from Eric Devine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tapout is a awsome book, i hate reading and couldnt put it down! Great read about real life situations. I reccomend to everyone;)
Gordon1 More than 1 year ago
Tap Out is a book that delivers high octane rhetoric from the first to last words with an underpinning premise about character and morals, during high stressed and unfavorable conditions. The MMA avenue was a great platform to deliver this message. I highly recommend reading this book. With two books published to date, Eric Devine seems to be Generation X’s Jim Harrison.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read it off my old kindle before chrostmas and it sucked!u