Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 4 - 8Grades 3 - 12Z4.733416
When Gerald was a child he was fascinated by fire. But fire is dangerous and powerful, and tragedy strikes. His substance-addicted mother is taken from him. Then he loses the loving generosity of a favorite aunt. A brutal stepfather with a flaming temper and an evil secret makes his life miserable. The one bright light in Gerald's life is his little half sister, Angel, whom he struggles to protect from her father, Jordan Sparks, who abuses her, and from their mother, whose irresponsible behavior forces Gerald to work hard to keep the family together.
As a teenager, Gerald finds success as a member of the Hazelwood Tigers basketball team, while Angel develops her talents as a dancer. Trouble still haunts them, however, and Gerald learns, painfully, that young friends can die and old enemies must be faced. In the end he must stand up to his stepfather alone in a blazing confrontation.
Sharon M. Draper has interwoven characters and events from her previous novel, Tears of a Tiger, in this unflinchingly realistic portrayal of poverty and child abuse. It is an inspiring story of a young man who rises above the tragic circumstances of his life by drawing on the love and strength of family and friends.
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published on January 1, 1997 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 068980699X
ISBN-13: 9780689806995
6 Book Reviews
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  • jenice1
    jenice1Sunday, February 25, 2018 at 2:48 pm55 stars
    Amazing book. it has real life references.
    • lild11
      lild11Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 8:35 am55 stars
      Nice adventure of a kid who has to go through life's greatest hardships. It can at some times be very emotional. And it make me think how lucky I am. Because I am a foster child but who came from a similar background as the main character in this story.
      • mimas523
        mimas523Tuesday, December 17, 2013 at 6:07 pm44 stars
        My iPad came with the book on it and I looked interesting
        • funnicole1
          funnicole1Monday, January 14, 2013 at 6:01 pm
          powerful book
          • TakiraTuesday, October 23, 2012 at 10:55 am
            This Book Is Really Good , Its Very Iterresting And It Has Alot Of Smart Words And There And Its Very Good Bye .
            • Helenaa R.Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at 7:11 am
              This is honestly the best book I have ever read. Gerald and Angel can probably relate to some kids today. Gerald is an inspiring kid who learns at a young age that life isn't perfect.