Monday, October 8, 2012

Review: Tap Out by Eric Devine


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.


Published September 11th 2012 by Running Press Kids  

The Elliott Review:

This book has some of the heaviest realism that I have ever read. I feel that the reader has a complete view of Tony's motivations and emotions, and in light of what he faces, they are extremely realistic. I have read some mixed reviews about his personality and actions, but I think that for someone who feels so trapped in his very difficult life, everything in the book works. The language and the bitter outlook on life are things I would expect to see from someone who has been through the things Tony has been through.

In fact, my emotions got so wrapped up in this book that I had to put it down every so often just to keep from taking that subtle depression on myself. At times, I was was like, "Give up already. You're not going to win." Even though it made it minimally less enjoyable of a read, it thoroughly convinced me of Eric Devine's enormous talent as a writer, that he can make me feel the same way as a character with experiences that are the complete opposite of my own.

Even though the book somewhat reads as a trial of the truth of Murphy's Law, with basically everything going wrong at every turn, I still feel that there is a note of hope at the end. Not some wow we had an epiphany and the sun will come out tomorrow ending, which I was very glad of. After all that Tony experiences and works through, that kind of ending would've been cheap and unbelievable. However, I get the overall sense that Tony hasn't been beaten yet even though he will obviously have more battles to fight in the future.

Young Adult Notes:

Name something that would offend someone, and it's probably in this book. Reading about the lives of these characters is not for the faint of heart.

Source: Thanks to Running Press for making this title available at Netgalley.

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