By Eric Luper
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), Hardcover, 9780374310004, 256pp.)
Publication Date: July 21, 2009
List Price: $16.99*
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It is the summer of 1934, and even at the height of the Great Depression, money is no object for the socialites at posh Saratoga Race Course. The trouble is times are tough for everyone else, especially penniless track workers like fifteenyear- old Jack Walsh. When Jack suddenly graduates from exercise rider to apprentice jockey, or bug boy, he is an overnight sensation. Success brings him all sorts of attention, including that of a brainy blond beauty who is more involved with the gritty underbelly of the track than she lets on and a vicious thug who presses Jack to break his code as a jockey for a payoff that could solve all his family’s problems.Set amid the rough backstretch of Thoroughbred racing, this edge-of-your-saddle read follows the course of a young athlete whose rise to glory in the most popular sport in America is accompanied by ever-increasing pressure to do something that could leave him trampled in the dirt.
ERIC LUPER lives in Albany, New York, and is an avid horseracing fan. Of Big Slick, his first novel, Kirkus Reviews said, “Luper’s authentic first-person narrative captures teen frustrations, feelings of confinement, and the mottled world of poker . . . Powerful momentum.”