Brawler (Hardcover)

By Neil Connelly

Arthur A. Levine Books, 9781338157758, 320pp.

Publication Date: March 26, 2019

List Price: 17.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Eddie MacIntyre--Mac to a handful of friends--is Pennsylvania's most promising wrestler. His future is bright with scholarship offers and the dream of helping his struggling mom. But then comes a fateful match at the state championship, when his famous rage consumes him and he assaults a referee. In an instant, Mac loses all he and his mom have worked to build since his abusive father was locked up years ago.

Facing arrest, Mac runs away to another town, where he is taken in by a shady promoter who has followed his career. He recruits Mac into Brawlers, an illegal underground fighting ring run by a gangland boss. This is a bloodsport that has no rules . . . but offers plenty of reward.

Mac teams up with Khajee, a girl with the fighting skills he'll need to learn to survive . . . and her own dark past tying her to the head of the ring. Together the two must figure out their place in a world that hasn't been kind to them . . . and forge a future that could be.

About the Author

Neil Connelly is the author of seven critically acclaimed books, among them four YA novels. The most recent was Into the Hurricane, which Kirkus Reviews called ”thoughtful and provocative.” He teaches creative writing at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania and lives with his wife and their sons. You can find him on the web at

Praise For Brawler

Advance Praise for Brawler:

"Brawler is action-packed, adrenaline-filled writing at its best, made even better by interesting and believable characters and a huge heart." -- Francisco X. Stork, author of Disappeared

Praise for Neil Connelly:

"Neil Connelly writes elegantly and understands the human heart uniquely." -- Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain

* "Sophisticated... will likely draw readers." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review of St. Michael's Scales

"A richly layered, thought-provoking novel of how one boy learns to make weight." -- Kirkus Reviews on St. Michael's Scales

* "The power and danger of religion receives a realistic, gutsy -- and yet movingly spiritual -- examination in this ambitious and graceful drama... A slim book that reads with miraculous speed." -- Booklist, starred review of The Miracle Stealer

"A rare and welcome portrait of a girl trying to navigate teenage angst, family dysfunction, and religious belief." -- The Horn Book on The Miracle Stealer

"Thoughtful and provocative.... A Category 5 drama." --Kirkus Reviews on Into the Hurricane