Caged Warrior (Hardcover)
Disney Press, 9781423171249, 216pp.
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
McCutcheon Daniels' life is full of bone-cracking violence. As a star fighter in the gritty underground Mixed Martial Arts circuit in the poorest section of Detroit, McCutcheon fights under the tutelage of his volatile and violent father, not so much for himself but to survive as protector of his beloved five-year old sister, Gemma. We get to know McCutcheon as he battles opponents who are literally trying to kill him. Mr. Freedman, his science teacher, spots his intellectual potential, befriends him, and encourages him to enter the lottery for a scholarship to an elite charter school so he can obtain a first-class education. He is at first dead-set against the idea, and of course his tyrannical father forbids it. But the school's headmaster, Kaitlyn, a student assigned to be his guide, and Mr. Freedman continue to encourage him to consider it. His father and the Priests, the local Mafia-like crew that run Detroit's organized crime, have other plans for McCutcheon. For them, he is simply a tool to make them money. And when that cash flow is threatened, his father hits McCutcheon where it hurts most-he hides Gemma and threatens his own son that he'll never see his beloved sister again if he doesn't play by the Priests' rules. For the first time in his life, McCutcheon reaches out for help. Mr. Freedman turns out to have a very mysterious past and not only helps McCutcheon find his sister but also his mother who had simply disappeared on McCutcheon's 13th birthday. All seems well, but happy endings aren't really something McCutcheon feels he can rely on. And he may be right. A ferocious novel, Caged Warrior is like a great fight movie, a tour-de-force of relentless conflict, but one that is leavened with rich characters and meaningful and loving relationships.
About the Author
Alan Lawrence Sitomer was California's 2007 Teacher of the Year. In addition to being an inner-city high school English teacher and professor in the Graduate School of Education at Loyola Marymount University, Mr. Sitomer is a nationally renowned speaker, specializing in engaging reluctant readers, and received the 2004 award for Classroom Excellence from the Southern California Teachers of English and the 2003 Teacher of the Year honor from California Literacy. Alan's previous books include The Hoopster, Hip-Hop High School, Homeboyz, and The Secret Story of Sonia Rodriguez, Nerd Girls The Rise of the Dorkasaurus and Nerd Girls A Catastrophe of Nerdish Proportions. Alan is also the author of Hip-Hop Poetry and the Classics, a text used in classrooms across the United States to engage disengaged students.