If I Grow Up by Todd Strasser

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In the Frederick Douglass Project where DeShawn lives, daily life is ruled by drugs and gang violence. Many teenagers drop out of school and join gangs, and every kid knows someone who died. Gunshots ring out on a regular basis.

DeShawn is smart enough to know he should stay in school and keep away from the gangs. But while his friends have drug money to buy fancy sneakers and big-screen TVs, DeShawn's family can barely afford food for the month. How can he stick to his principles when his family is hungry?

In this gritty novel about growing up in the inner city, award-winning author Todd Strasser opens a window into the life of a teenager struggling with right and wrong under the ever-present shadow of gangs.

About Todd Strasser

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Todd Strasser has written many critically acclaimed novels for adults, teenagers, and children, including the award-winning "Can't Get There from Here", "Give a Boy a Gun", "Boot Camp", "If I Grow Up", "Famous", and "How I Created My Perfect Prom Date", which became the Fox feature film "Drive Me Crazy". Todd lives in a suburb of New York and speaks frequently at schools. Visit him at ToddStrasser.com.
Published February 11, 2009 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. 244 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Literature & Fiction, Children's Books. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Inner-city teen DeShawn fights to keep his head above water while trapped in a violent, gang-ridden nightmare as his friends and family succumb to drug deals, murder and shootouts.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of If I Grow Up

Publishers Weekly

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In this superficially compelling but heavy-handed book about gang culture, narrator DeShawn faces tough circumstances and limited choices. Readers first meet DeShawn as a smart 12-year-old with pot

Jan 19 2009 | Read Full Review of If I Grow Up

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