The Contender by Robert Lipsyte

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Before you can be a champion,
you have to be a contender.

Alfred Brooks is scared. He's a highschool dropout and his grocery store job is leading nowhere. His best friend is sinking further and further into drug addiction. Some street kids are after him for something he didn't even do. So Alfred begins going to Donatelli's Gym, a boxing club in Harlem that has trained champions. There he learns it's the effort, not the win, that makes the man -- that last desperate struggle to get back on your feet when you thought you were down for the count.


About Robert Lipsyte

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Robert Lipsyte was an award-winning sportswriter for the New York Times and the Emmy-winning host of the nightly public affairs show The Eleventh Hour. He is the author of twelve acclaimed novels for young adults and is the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring his lifetime contribution in that genre. He has also written numerous works of fiction and nonfiction for adults. He lives in Manhattan and on Shelter Island, New York, with his wife, Lois Morris, and his dog, Milo. Visit his website at
Published January 8, 2010 by HarperCollins. 179 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Literature & Fiction, Children's Books, Sports & Outdoors, Horror. Non-fiction

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As a social statistic he's a dropout, on the streets of Harlem he's tagged ""Uncle Tom,"" once he and James were partners (but James is breaking into stores, taking dope), in the gym talking to the manager his palms sweat—can he become a champion?

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