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Brawler

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Eddie MacIntyre--Mac to a handful of friends--is Pennsylvania's most promising wrestler. His future is bright with scholarship offers and the dream of helping his struggling mom. But then comes a fateful match at the state championship, when his famous rage consumes him and he assaults a referee. In an instant, Mac loses all he and his mom have worked to build since his ab Eddie MacIntyre--Mac to a handful of friends--is Pennsylvania's most promising wrestler. His future is bright with scholarship offers and the dream of helping his struggling mom. But then comes a fateful match at the state championship, when his famous rage consumes him and he assaults a referee. In an instant, Mac loses all he and his mom have worked to build since his abusive father was locked up years ago. Facing arrest, Mac runs away to another town, where he is taken in by a shady promoter who has followed his career. He recruits Mac into Brawlers, an illegal underground fighting ring run by a gangland boss. This is a bloodsport that has no rules . . . but offers plenty of reward. Mac teams up with Khajee, a girl with the fighting skills he'll need to learn to survive . . . and her own dark past tying her to the head of the ring. Together the two must figure out their place in a world that hasn't been kind to them . . . and forge a future that could be.


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Eddie MacIntyre--Mac to a handful of friends--is Pennsylvania's most promising wrestler. His future is bright with scholarship offers and the dream of helping his struggling mom. But then comes a fateful match at the state championship, when his famous rage consumes him and he assaults a referee. In an instant, Mac loses all he and his mom have worked to build since his ab Eddie MacIntyre--Mac to a handful of friends--is Pennsylvania's most promising wrestler. His future is bright with scholarship offers and the dream of helping his struggling mom. But then comes a fateful match at the state championship, when his famous rage consumes him and he assaults a referee. In an instant, Mac loses all he and his mom have worked to build since his abusive father was locked up years ago. Facing arrest, Mac runs away to another town, where he is taken in by a shady promoter who has followed his career. He recruits Mac into Brawlers, an illegal underground fighting ring run by a gangland boss. This is a bloodsport that has no rules . . . but offers plenty of reward. Mac teams up with Khajee, a girl with the fighting skills he'll need to learn to survive . . . and her own dark past tying her to the head of the ring. Together the two must figure out their place in a world that hasn't been kind to them . . . and forge a future that could be.

58 review for Brawler

  1. 4 out of 5

    Joyce Yattoni

    I picked this up at the Scholastic Book Fair this spring because the protagonist was a high school wrestler, these books are few and far between. (So many books on basketball and baseball and football). But, I have to say that this book is quickly alarming at the violence that plays out. Mac is a product of physical abuse. His father sits in prison for it. To say he is a boy who has been both physically and emotionally harmed is putting it mildly. The story strays from wrestling as Mac finds him I picked this up at the Scholastic Book Fair this spring because the protagonist was a high school wrestler, these books are few and far between. (So many books on basketball and baseball and football). But, I have to say that this book is quickly alarming at the violence that plays out. Mac is a product of physical abuse. His father sits in prison for it. To say he is a boy who has been both physically and emotionally harmed is putting it mildly. The story strays from wrestling as Mac finds himself in trouble, runs away and hooks up with some bad guys who promote “underground” fighting if there is such a thing. The story highlights the dumb decisions a 18 year makes when he can’t see the far reaching consequences. By the end of the story he is ready to face his behavior. I just couldn’t get over the violence that played out throughout the story that was promoted by the criminal adults who were making money off of these desperate kids. Mature readers.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I received this book as part of the Spring 2019 Scholastic Book Fair Preview Pack. All opinions are my own. I was NOT excited to read this story-the tagline of "Fight Club meets MMA" was not something that appealed to me at all-but I ended up actually kind of liking this one. I would have never chosen to read this on my own, but it was something that I wanted to finish and found myself picking up over and over at work today. Eddie is a promising high school wrestler, a senior who is on his way to I received this book as part of the Spring 2019 Scholastic Book Fair Preview Pack. All opinions are my own. I was NOT excited to read this story-the tagline of "Fight Club meets MMA" was not something that appealed to me at all-but I ended up actually kind of liking this one. I would have never chosen to read this on my own, but it was something that I wanted to finish and found myself picking up over and over at work today. Eddie is a promising high school wrestler, a senior who is on his way to another state championship and hopefully a college scholarship. With that, he can start to earn enough money to help pay back his mom for all she has done for him as a single parent ever since the night they finally left his father, an abusive man who is now in jail for the things he did to them. But, in his last match, Eddie loses his cool and attacks the ref. Expelled and on the run since the ref pressed charges, Eddie falls into the Brawlers, an underground fighting ring. Once there, he realizes the money is good, but it isn't just fights. He finds himself on shaky moral ground and eventually has to realize just how much his life is worth to himself. Recommended for grades 8 and up. There is an ample amount of violence (hello, they are brawlers) but no sexual content and only two curse words (s**t and damn).

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central Eddie McGuire is a talented high school wrestler with a horribly short fuse. This is no doubt a result of the abuse he endured from his father early in his life, but his father has been in jail for eight years. Eddie (or Mac) and his mother barely get by, and he's hoping to get a college scholarship and be able to one day get a good job and help his mother out. When a ref at a tournament makes him angry, he lets a punch fly, and just like that, his chanc Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central Eddie McGuire is a talented high school wrestler with a horribly short fuse. This is no doubt a result of the abuse he endured from his father early in his life, but his father has been in jail for eight years. Eddie (or Mac) and his mother barely get by, and he's hoping to get a college scholarship and be able to one day get a good job and help his mother out. When a ref at a tournament makes him angry, he lets a punch fly, and just like that, his chances of college are gone. Not only that, but he may be looking at jail time. Detective Harrow, who helped lock his father up, comes to the family and tells them what is going on. Mac doesn't see any other way out, and decides to run away. He is quickly approached by people who knew his father and have been following his wrestling career. The promoter runs the Brawlers, an illegal group that stages violent, no-holds-barred fights around town and makes a lot of money off the betting. This is as good an opportunity as any for a teen on the run, and Mac is soon ensconced in the home of Khajee and her elderly uncle. The two owe the promoter, and Khajee trains Mac while she goes to school and Mac keeps an eye on the uncle, Than. While he is a good wrestler, Mac doesn't know much about martial arts, but Khajee manages to train him enough that his underlying anger makes him a powerful opponent. He tries to get money to his mother, who desperately wants him to come home. He is also given the chance to make peace with his father, although this ends in a terrifying scene of violence, with the father being on the receiving end for a change. After the decline and death of Than, Mac realizes that he can' stay on the run forever, and he tries to figure out what to do with his life. While this book is definitely violent, with lots of scenes in the ring as well as the beat down Mac delivers to his father, it does not have much bad language, and has no sexual activity or other things that would make it objectionable to middle grade readers. This is a very hard thing to do, but I always appreciate it. Some middle school students want books that are fairly dark, and this is a great choice for readers who like Carl Deuker's titles (especially the 2005 Runner), Volponi's Black and White, and Alphin's Counterfeit Son. These books all have characters who fight against overwhelming odds as best they can. It is refreshing that Mac and Khajee never slip into a romantic relationship. They are both teens dealing with adult problems, and they support each other and help each other out without complicating matters. Khajee is a great athlete and shows Mac that he can learn a lot from her. Watching the two of them try to care for Than was heartbreaking and showed that with all of their problems, they were both very mature. Certainly, there are some things in the book that seem odd. Would Khajee's uncle really be indebted to the promoter to the point where both of their lives were held in thrall to him? Would Mac really have been able to run away, stay close to home, and not have been found by the police? Would he have been able to visit and beat up his father? I believed the motivation for that-- Mac hasn't gotten any counseling for his anger issues (also realistic, since his mother was struggling so much), and when presented with an opportunity to beat up his father, I can see him wanting to do that. Brawler is an unusual book that adds a sports twist to a book that has a feel similar to spy books, has sympathetic characters in dire circumstances, and that will speak to teen readers who want a book that makes their own lives seem happy in comparison!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    While I readily acknowledge I am not the target audience, Brawler was not the book for me. Mac has hopes and dreams of getting a full ride scholarship to the college of his dreams because of his wrestling skills. He blows everything when he throws a punch at a referee at the state competition semi-finals. Not only does this get him expelled from finishing high school, but he is also going to be charged for the assault. I have so many problems. First of all, Mac has a lot of baggage from when he wa While I readily acknowledge I am not the target audience, Brawler was not the book for me. Mac has hopes and dreams of getting a full ride scholarship to the college of his dreams because of his wrestling skills. He blows everything when he throws a punch at a referee at the state competition semi-finals. Not only does this get him expelled from finishing high school, but he is also going to be charged for the assault. I have so many problems. First of all, Mac has a lot of baggage from when he was little and his father beat his mother almost to death. Mac witnessed the whole thing. So he has anger issues. No counseling? Just throw him out? This problem was obvious way before his final wrestling match--his coach knows it, his mother knows it...uh...come on. Mac gets "saved" by a mysterious guy who gets him involved in an illegal fighting ring, the Brawlers, run by a gang boss. He is allowed to beat guys to a pulp now and makes a lot of money doing it. But, he's also beholden to the boss, who makes him beat up other people who he is unhappy with. He's being trained by a high school girl, who for some reason knows how to fight. She is also indebted to the boss, so she must do this. Ummm....right. So this goes on for most of the book, and every fight is explained in meticulous, gory details that I ended up skimming. Mac barely feels any guilt for what his life has become and what he is doing. And he is enjoying more money than he has ever seen. In the last thirty pages, he decides what he is doing is wrong and fixes it. Very easily and quickly with barely any consequences. Really? Where's the moral? You want high school kids to read this and know that after all that, everything turns out okay for Mac? The writing is good (very descriptive) and the plot moves quickly. High school wrestlers who are reluctant readers might be pointed to Brawler. But only if they are unimpressionable and realistic. This isn't a book I would have chosen to read on my own. It was sent to me for review. And to reiterate, I know I'm not the target audience. But still...I'm having a hard time picturing who is.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Senior Eddie (Mac) MacIntyre, known as Brute Boy, has internalized a lot of his anger about his father and his own upbringing. Still, it's simmering right below the surface at all times. But there are times when he simply cannot control that rage, and it comes into play during his wrestling matches. During the Pennsylvania state wrestling semifinals, he toys with his opponent, loses the match due to unsportsmanlike conduct, punches a referee, and watches his dreams of a scholarship evaporate. No Senior Eddie (Mac) MacIntyre, known as Brute Boy, has internalized a lot of his anger about his father and his own upbringing. Still, it's simmering right below the surface at all times. But there are times when he simply cannot control that rage, and it comes into play during his wrestling matches. During the Pennsylvania state wrestling semifinals, he toys with his opponent, loses the match due to unsportsmanlike conduct, punches a referee, and watches his dreams of a scholarship evaporate. Not only is he expelled from school, but his victim intends to press charges. When a shady promoter offers him a way out and a way to earn cash quickly, Mac accepts his offer, and finds himself dubbed Wild Child as part of the Brawlers, a group of underground no-holds barred fighters. Mac's all up for the violence and the challenge, but his minder sends him off for training with Khajee, whose family owes a debt to Sunday, the head of the fighting operation. She and her uncle, Than, teach him much more than the physical moves he'll need to be a winner in the ring or pit. Mac is also required to use his brute force and intimidation as an enforcer for those who owe something to Sunday. But as Mac learns to his regret, even Sunday is not to be trusted, and when he insists that Mac throw a match, Mac does what he has to do to escape from the ever-tightening noose around his neck. This book is certainly filled with action and scenes of violence for those who like that sort of thing, but it also shows a flawed character who begins to see the error of his ways and change. The scene with Mac's father in prison is heartbreaking in its intensity as are the hints of what went on in his home when Mac was a boy. As it turns out, Mac does have a heart and a conscience. But I wish the conclusion had been fleshed out a bit more. It seemed a bit abrupt to me. Readers who have experienced some of Mac's childhood trauma may find hope in his ability to somehow transcend all that, but it is certainly a hard journey and one that left me wondering what happens next for him.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Theo

    I got this book at my school book fair. Well, it was 10 dollars but i think it was worth me buying the book. First, the reason i took a star off. In some cases, i thought they were portraying bad as good.(not too much thankfully) For example. When Mac beats his father. C'mon. The guy became a christian and regretted the sins he committed beating his son and wife. He's the good guy now. But know. Mac kind of scolds him and screams in his face that he's not his father anymore. If i was the father i I got this book at my school book fair. Well, it was 10 dollars but i think it was worth me buying the book. First, the reason i took a star off. In some cases, i thought they were portraying bad as good.(not too much thankfully) For example. When Mac beats his father. C'mon. The guy became a christian and regretted the sins he committed beating his son and wife. He's the good guy now. But know. Mac kind of scolds him and screams in his face that he's not his father anymore. If i was the father i would of been heart broken. Also Mac tells the girl that it was her father's fault that he didn't pay up some criminal named Sunday who's already rich and owns an organization called the brawlers. Another case was when Mac beat Leonard with no mercy. WITH A BAT. But i liked the book. The story tells how Khajee trains Mac in a Thailand martial art( I forgot the name) to become a good brawler. Mac ends up beating badder in the championship TWICE! I died when it said "Grunt grunted" Also i died when Mac was leaning over to Khajee to get a kiss and then she was like NOPE and backed away. I liked the MMA theme It was great overall.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sherrie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The tag line on the back of this book is “Fight Club with MMA” but it is so much more, and so much better than that. Eddie is a high school wrestler haunted by a childhood of abuse by his father against both himself and his mother. Senior year he has an undefeated season and scholarship offers, but one bad decision destroys that all and sends him on the run from police. He is taken in by a promoter running an illegal underground fighting ring. Soon, he is also picking up work as an enforcer for The tag line on the back of this book is “Fight Club with MMA” but it is so much more, and so much better than that. Eddie is a high school wrestler haunted by a childhood of abuse by his father against both himself and his mother. Senior year he has an undefeated season and scholarship offers, but one bad decision destroys that all and sends him on the run from police. He is taken in by a promoter running an illegal underground fighting ring. Soon, he is also picking up work as an enforcer for the promoter’s gang ties. Within this dark world, he meets two friends that he can trust. The characters are believable and the reader roots for Eddie despite his many flaws and his penchant for extreme violence. Highly recommended for high school aged to adult readers.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Whitney

    I thought this was a pretty good book, filled with action scenes and a believable protagonist grappling with anger issues and poor foresight. It's nice to see a male-centric protagonist in a sports book that's not baseball/football/volleyball, and it's always fun to read about seedy underground fight clubs. The only part of the book I had an issue with was the epilogue. There is no falling action to this book, no real sense of what, exactly, happens to Mac in the end. He spends some time setting I thought this was a pretty good book, filled with action scenes and a believable protagonist grappling with anger issues and poor foresight. It's nice to see a male-centric protagonist in a sports book that's not baseball/football/volleyball, and it's always fun to read about seedy underground fight clubs. The only part of the book I had an issue with was the epilogue. There is no falling action to this book, no real sense of what, exactly, happens to Mac in the end. He spends some time setting things up with his friends, but then what? The end is exciting, and one of the best parts of the book, but actual ending is what dragged this book down for me.

  9. 5 out of 5

    PWRL

    SM

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    This was a challenge for me - very rough in several parts. Fights are graphic.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlin

    Totally loved this book. It was action packed, interesting, and engaging. Definitely suggest it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Julie

  13. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Vance

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rilyn

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ray

  17. 5 out of 5

    Salamander

  18. 5 out of 5

    Crystal E. Plante

  19. 4 out of 5

    David Young

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cyrille

  21. 5 out of 5

    Julie

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lira

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alan Boyko

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

  25. 5 out of 5

    Autumn

  26. 5 out of 5

    Joanna

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bridget

  28. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Howie

  29. 5 out of 5

    Brinkley

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mew

  31. 5 out of 5

    Caro

  32. 5 out of 5

    Vicki Stevens

  33. 5 out of 5

    Krispipe

  34. 4 out of 5

    Anastasia Antony

  35. 5 out of 5

    John Zeleznik

  36. 4 out of 5

    SoKawaiiBebe

  37. 5 out of 5

    Noa Sperber

  38. 5 out of 5

    Jazz

  39. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay Flynn

  40. 5 out of 5

    Kate

  41. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

  42. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  43. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Landis

  44. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Caslin

  45. 5 out of 5

    Britt

  46. 4 out of 5

    Bekah

  47. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Shanahan

  48. 4 out of 5

    Evelyn

  49. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

  50. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Hauer

  51. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

  52. 5 out of 5

    Caroline Floyd

  53. 5 out of 5

    Dana

  54. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

  55. 5 out of 5

    Jade

  56. 4 out of 5

    Jen Appell

  57. 4 out of 5

    Karrie Stewart

  58. 4 out of 5

    Emma

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