Review: Caged Warrior by Alan Lawrence Sitomer

Caged Warrior Cover“Why are we tough?”

“Because that’s how we get out.”

McCutcheon Daniels has many names. To some he’s known as M.D., to his little sister as Doc. But to most of Detroit, he is Bam Bam, a star MMA fighter despite his young age.  McCutcheon fights hard, brutal, bloody, illegal matches organized by The Priests, a street gang, to cover his violent, vicious father’s bets. This is the life he has known for as long as he can remember.

When McCutcheon wins the lottery for spaces in an expensive charter school, he doesn’t want it. He tries to tell the school to give it to someone else. School isn’t part of his plan; next year, when the truant officers stop caring, he is going to drop out and train full time. Who needs school when you can be an MMA champion?

But his science teacher and the principal of Radiance refuse to give up on him. After touring the campus, and especially after meeting Kaitlyn, McCutcheon starts to think that maybe he could be something more than an animal, fighting for others’ bloody amusement.

When his beloved little sister disappears, McCutcheon has to make a choice. Will he continue fighting to keep his father happy and his sister safe? Or is there another path he can take?

Caged Warrior is a great pick for reluctant readers, especially boys. The author paints a clear, realistic picture of McCutcheon’s life without resorting to cliches.

Recommended for grades 9 and up – explicit sexual references, language, depictions of violence, and drug use.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the digital ARC of this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

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