The Ring

Bobbie Pyron, Author WestSide $15.95 (253p) ISBN 978-1-934813-09-6

Pyron’s debut introduces Mardie, a 15-year-old who drinks, smokes pot, does poorly in school and generally disappoints her family. Stumbling across the boxing class at her stepmother’s gym isn’t an instant fix, but when she does hit rock bottom (getting arrested for shoplifting shortly after she catches the boy she’s been seeing cheating on her), it offers her a lifeline to help put her life back together. Inspired by her coach, Kitty, Mardie focuses on boxing and her mandated community service at a home for special needs children, becoming physically and emotionally grounded. Mardie’s journey is far from smooth, as her family’s internal struggles and her falling-out with her best friend dominate much of her time. Although the action sequences are well written, it’s Mardie’s character development that will hook readers: she’s plenty capable of making mistakes, but just as able to eventually learn from them. It’s standard problem novel material, but Pyron does an admirable job of conveying teenage troubles while generally avoiding the feel of an after-school special, and hits at social issues like racism and homophobia without proselytizing. Ages 14–up. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 10/05/2009
Release date: 09/01/2009
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Paperback - 253 pages - 978-1-934813-60-7
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