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Author: Holt, K. A.
Told in assonant free verse, Levi was once a premature baby who suffered from respiratory problems; he recovered, and now in seventh grade, he struggles to demonstrate to his divorced mother and overprotective brother that he is okay--so when his father suggests he take up boxing he falls in love with the sport, but he still must find a way to convince his family to set him free to follow his dream.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 3.70
Points: 3.0 Quiz: 196062
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 3.40
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 75713
Kirkus Reviews (02/15/18)
School Library Journal (02/01/18)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 02/01/2018 Gr 5–8—A companion piece to Holt's well-received House Arrest, this compelling novel-in-verse reintroduces readers to the same characters some 11 years later. Levi, who was a sickly infant with a life-endangering condition, is now a cocky, energetic tween with a story of his own to tell: "Who am I?/I am Levi./I am small/but fast/I am smart/but dumb./If you move the letters/of my name around/you get live." He is chafing at the overprotectiveness of Timothy, his big brother, who grew up playing a role beyond his years as Levi's caretaker, and his mother, who once struggled to keep him alive while trying to make ends meet. Levi is tired of being wrapped in cotton wool. He wants to run, play, climb trees, and assert his independence. And he wants, more than anything, to box: "When I hit the bag/BAM BAM BAM/it stopped all my thoughts/and I'm just…in the moment…/arms/fists/feet/moving/moving/an animal/not a boy/a beast/a different/me." How these three characters bob and weave and ultimately grow together into a greater understanding makes for an accessible story that will not only resonate with middle graders who are living under the shadow of a life-threatening illness, but for all tweens who are eager to establish their independence. Levi isn't always likable as he pushes to assert himself but he is always relatable. Well-placed concrete verse adds visual interest and further adds to the kid appeal. VERDICT This character-driven narrative should be an easy sell, especially where House Arrest was popular; fans of thoughtful sports novels-in-verse (e.g. Kwame Alexander's The Crossover) will likely enjoy this as well.—Eileen Makoff, P.S. 90 Edna Cohen School, NY - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 03/01/2018 Twelve-year-old Levi has his problems. A tracheotomy when he was younger has left him in sometimes perilous heath as he struggles to breathe, an inhaler always at the ready. His parents are divorced; his older brother, Timothy, is often inaccessible as he studies for the exam that will determine whether he will be admitted to medical school; and his best friend Tam has found a new friend, a cheerleader named Kate, who occupies all her time. Things start to look up, though, when Levi discovers boxing and turns out to be a natural. But lessons are expensive and money is a problem. It also becomes a major consideration when he decides he wants to go to a private school that has a boxing team. In the meantime, he is injured in the ring and must go to a hospital in Cincinnati. Can the doctors there cure his previously existing condition? Holt, who tells her story in shaped verse, handles her material expertly, crafting an appealing story that most readers will find to be, yes, a knockout. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.