Fighter’s Alley

fightersalley_cover“Will’s father is running for mayor. The competition is slim. So all Will has to do is keep from embarrassing his family during the election. Problem is, Will has been secretly boxing down at the Woodrat Club—just the sort of seedy place Will’s dad wants to stomp out.”

Bareknuckle is an exciting new hi-lo series perfect for male, reluctant readers. Each book tells a different story set in an underground boxing club in the 1870s. Slavery and immigration are backstories in Lightning’s Run. Jewish immigrant Hiram and former slave Lightning join forces at the Woodrat to fight against bullies, both big and small. In The Big Fix readers are introduced to underground boxing when young journalist George Choogart travels to New York to uncover corruption in a post-Tammany city. The Woodrat is established as a popular fighting club. Fighter’s Alley tells the story of a young boy determined to enter a high-stakes boxing tournament and try to keep it a secret from his father, who is running for mayor. Although boys will be most interested in the very violent fighting, each book also throws in some history and moral lessons. Descriptions of the fights are very visual and auditory and suck in readers who love picturing loud cracks as bare knuckles hit broken noses. Squeamish readers might not be as thrilled, but most boys will be drawn to the fighting sections. Although the series is aimed at reluctant readers, it is exciting enough to interest voracious readers as well. The Bareknuckle series would be a worthy addition to middle school libraries and libraries serving the tween population. (Bareknuckle) Reviewer: Jen McIntosh; Ages 11 to 14.  -Jen McIntosh