Seventeen-year-old Tony Antioch lives in Pleasant Meadows, a trailer park where questions aren't asked since everyone already knows the answers from their own experience. He dreams of rescuing his mother from her constant stream of abusive boyfriends but in reality can barely duck the punches that are aimed at himself.
When Tony is coerced into joining his friend Rob's Mixed Martial Arts class, he is surprised to find that he has a talent that he actually wants to develop. But with a meth-dealing biker gang that is hungry for recruits and a vicious cycle of poverty and violence that precedes him, Tony is going to need a lot more than blood and guts to find a way out.
Gritty, powerful, and unapologetic, Tap Out explores what it takes to stay true to oneself and the consequences of the choices made along the way in order to do so.
Eric Devine is currently a writer, high school English teacher, and educational consultant. He is also the author of This Side of Normal, a novel about a teen struggling with type 1 diabetes. He lives in Waterford, New York, with his family, and can be found online at ericdevine.org and on Twitter @eric_devine.
Tony's life is bleak and violent, as his drug-addict mother's boyfriend regularly beats her up and gleefully includes Tony if he objects... Tony sees himself as trailer trash, with no options and no hope for a better life. Tony finds the gym's fight world, with its rules and demands for toughness, a place where he can receive rare praise. At the gym he finds some respect, guys he can trust and a chance...
This is bound to have huge appeal to kids whose lives are being mirrored, and it may prompt luckier readers to take some positive action. (Fiction. 14 & up) -Kirkus
Starting with the first page, Devine instantly captures your attention and holds it until the very end... the storyline, the drama and the characters were all thoroughly put together. Personally, I would recommend this book to any of my friends. -School Library Journal Teen