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Tap Out
Cover of Tap Out
Tap Out

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.

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.

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  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    3.7
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    2

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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.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 13, 2012
    Faced with a variety of hard, unpleasant decisions, a teenager turns to mixed martial arts (MMA) in an attempt to take control of his increasingly difficult life. Seventeen-year-old Tony Antioch can’t see any way out of a daily existence that involves a drug-addicted mother, her physically abusive boyfriend, and a meth-dealing biker gang that refuses to take no for an answer when they try to recruit him. Every attempt Tony makes to help his mother, avoid trouble, or better his situation inevitably turns sour, with his MMA training only making him a better, more brutal fighter. It all leads up to a deadly, desperate climax that leaves no one unscathed. Devine doesn’t pull any punches in this violent and graphic tale, and the visceral, profanity-drenched narration is in keeping with the subject matter. Women are used and abused, people are beaten and killed, and drugs and casual sex are prevalent. Moments of hope and optimism are far and few between, and even mature readers may find the story overwhelmingly bleak. Ages 14–up. Agent: Kate McKean, Howard Morhaim Literary Agency.

  • Kirkus

    August 1, 2012
    A boy who knows only grinding despair finds hope within the walls of a gym. Tony's life is bleak and violent, as his drug-addict mother's boyfriend regularly beats her up and gleefully includes Tony if he objects. At school, the boyfriend's nephew further compounds the bullying. Until the principal, Mr. O, decides to help, Tony's buddy Rob and the Vo-Tec auto-mechanics class are the only things that lighten his load. Now, not only does Rob want Tony to join the gym where they can be coached in Mixed Martial Arts, but the principal is threatening to take away Vo-Tec if Tony doesn't go. Tony sees himself as trailer trash, with no options and no hope for a better life. Tony finds the gym's fight world, with its rules and demands for toughness, a place where he can receive rare praise. At the gym he finds some respect, guys he can trust and a chance. A mighty confrontation is inevitable and proves predictably brutal. Full of foul language and crude talk, the painful scenarios never let up, including a horrifying encounter in which Tony must listen to a prostitute be beaten, knowing that earlier an abusive father sent his unwilling daughter to the same fate. This is bound to have huge appeal to kids whose lives are being mirrored, and it may prompt luckier readers to take some positive action. (Fiction. 14 & up)

    COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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