Release Date: April 2, 2017
Publisher: Fiction with Meaning LLC
Pages: 504 pages
Buy: Kindle | Paperback
Synopsis:Seven year old Tony has two choices: to live or to die.
Tony Bruno just wants to fit in, but the bullies at his school are cruel and relentless. At home, he leans on his mother Teresa for strength and comfort, but she’s no match for his father, Carmen. His father, a fighter and bully himself, hates Tony. He is embarrassed by the child for not fighting back and wishes that Tony was never born.
Then as a teen, in one act of blind courage, Tony fights back shifting the balance of power with his peers. Even after Tony sets things straight with the neighborhood boys, his father continues to terrorize him.
At school, Tony is now respected by his classmates. One day he stands up for a bullied kid named, Salvatore, and the boys become friends. One night, Salvatore commits a horrific crime and Tony suffers the consequences of his friends’ actions. Tony’s punishment changes the course of his life.
All alone and nowhere to call home, Tony sets out to find the life he longs for, one filled with love and acceptance. But nothing comes easily for him, and he is forced to draw upon strength from deep within to survive.
From the dark world he lives in, Tony does unimaginable things to leave his unwanted life behind.
This is a dark book. Tony is bullied at school, bullied at home by his father, winds up in Juvie where horrible things happen to him, lives on the streets and pretty much raises himself. Just when you think things are in an upswing you get the rug pulled out from under you. It is an emotional roller coaster of a book.
Paige Dearth really takes you on a ride of survival and pain. Well written this book sucks you in and keeps your attention as you keep routing for Tony to win at this game of life. Tony's life is violent, from almost getting lynched by a group of bullies to being kicked out of his house, joining a gang and then ultimately finding a home in the mob. As a Philly girl I loved the setting and Dearth really brings South Philly to life, North Philadelphia has changed a bit from the time this book is set but I remember when it was the gang ridden hell hole she describes.
Its been a few days since I finished this book and its still sitting with me. Tony is one of those characters who will stay with me for a long time.
Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review