That's right, this 16 year-old has been trained from birth to be the best Mixed Martial Arts fighter in the city.
M.D.'s father is the driving force behind this lifestyle. He's an awful human being, and an even worse father, an addict, and a gambler. M.D. and Gemma's mother left them years ago, and they're stuck with this horrible dad to keep a roof over their heads. When M.D. gets the rare opportunity to attend a prestigious charter school he thinks there is no way that will happen - not only is he not interested, he can't take Gemma with him, and his father is already pressuring him to drop out of school next year.
M.D. has to deal with some incredibly difficult issues. Raising his little sister, getting good grades, training every morning and afternoon, surviving cage fights every Saturday - this kid is lucky to be alive. His struggles are real, they are life-and-death, and they are well-written. The prose is realistic and interesting. The dialogue is a little hard to follow sometimes, but it is very true-to-life. Overall this is a great book that I think hasn't gotten enough attention this year.
If you are looking for a really intense book about really intense issues, if you want something to keep a reluctant reader's attention, or if you want to get a book in the hands of boys dealt a rough hand in life, then pick this one up. It was a fast read because I simply couldn't put it down.