"Why's he playing her so close?"  Yo he better let go of my moms.

Bryan spends just about every afternoon after school working in his "office" where his mom works.  It's a place where he can use his imagination.  It's a place where he isn't dodging the pee puddles in the elevator or the heads that are hanging outside on the street.  It comes as a big surprise to him when his mom and his pop decide they want him to start making friends and they pick out Mike, a good kid, to have over for dinner.

You know how you look at some people and you get a bad feeling?  That's where Bryan was when he saw Mike.  But the two guys hang out, find out they both love to draw and read comics, and Mike seems like a good guy after all.

Bryan doesn't notice the tiny steps he's being asked to take in the wrong direction.  At home his pops has gotten out of jail and it just feels so good to have him home.  When Bryan starts to get the bad feeling about Mike again, he doesn't want to stir up trouble with his parents at home. He'd rather they both believe that he's growing and making a buddy.

So this is the real deal.  This is a look at a life from the inside.  This family struggles to keep things normal, to have some peace, to keep from slipping back into the old ways that tore them apart.  This is about walking the streets in the neighborhood and knowing how has your back and who doesn't.  This is about watching the faces and taking small steps in the wrong direction just because you are frustrated and scared and you need some kind of release.

Bryan has some choices to make.  They'll look familiar to you.  These are choices we all have to make.  Which side is he going to end up on?  How far is he willing to go?  Will the love and care his family has given him be enough?

"Stupid!" he barks at me."Once this train moves, you ain't getting on! GET! ON!"



...stop thinking.

I.Do. What.He. DId."

Would you?

So important to get these voices on the shelves of our libraries and bookstores so they can reach the hands of the young people who so dearly need to see themselves.  How much power do you really have? Authentic, gritty, deeply caring.

192 pages 978-1524740559 Ages 10-13

Recommended by:  Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com


Tight: Lately, Bryan's been feeling it in all kinds of ways . . .

Bryan knows what's tight for him--reading comics, drawing superheroes, and hanging out with no drama. But drama is every day where he's from, and that gets him tight, wound up.

And now Bryan's friend Mike pressures him with ideas of fun that are crazy risky. At first, it's a rush following Mike, hopping turnstiles, subway surfing, and getting into all kinds of trouble. But Bryan never really feels right acting so wrong, and drama really isn't him. So which way will he go, especially when his dad tells him it's better to be hard and feared than liked?

But if there's one thing Bryan's gotten from his comic heroes, it's that he has power--to stand up for what he feels . . .

Torrey Maldonado delivers a fast-paced, insightful, dynamic story capturing urban community life. Readers will connect with Bryan's journey as he navigates a tough world with a heartfelt desire for a different life.--from the publisher

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