Have you ever come across a book that just overwhelmed you with it's wowness? I did, and I wasn't expecting it so I am very very very happy to be hosting a giveaway for this book. If you have occasionally visited this blog, or consistently follow it, you may know what I am talking about. This book has been the grimiest read in 2012 for me.I consistently and overwhelmingly recommend this book to everyone I get a chance. This book is not genre-specific, it's people specific. Tap Out is not a book meant to sit on the shelves and collect dust. It is a book that needs to roam from hand to tattered hand. It is uncomfortable for it's dark truths, but you will sighing with relief as you get to the end. Or maybe, you'll remind yourself to breathe. If I could purchase enough books and place in everyone's hand, I would. I can do that for only one person though, so see the end for the giveaway.
Goodreads Summary: Seventeen-year-old Tony Antioch lives in Pleasant Meadows, a trailer park where questions aren't asked since everyone already knows the answers from their own experience. He dreams of rescuing his mother from her constant stream of abusive boyfriends but in reality can barely duck the punches that are aimed at himself. When Tony is coerced into joining his friend Rob's Mixed Martial Arts class, he is surprised to find that he has a talent that he actually wants to develop. But with a meth-dealing biker gang that is hungry for recruits and a vicious cycle of poverty and violence that precedes him, Tony is going to need a lot more than blood and guts to find a way out. Gritty, powerful, and unapologetic, Tap Out explores what it takes to stay true to oneself and the consequences of the choices made along the way in order to do so.
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Excerpt from Tap Out (unedited)
This is Tony's first time in the gym.
Coach Dan shows us two variations on the move and we pair up again and practice. It’s fucked up. Guys around the room are holding onto each other like a bunch of drunk fucks learning how to dance. I’m sweating and breathing a little heavy, but I don’t see how any of this would help me against
“All right, fighters to the middle.”
“That’s me,” Rob says and darts to the center of the mat. I join all but Rob, Amir and some other guy against the wall.
“Three lines, and don’t worry, you’ll rotate through all of them.” Coach looks toward the group and Phil shows me the way. We form lines off each fighter, four to a line. I’m in Amir’s.
“Now, these guys are up in a month, so give them hell. Take them down. Make them work.” He turns to the three. “Ready?” They pop into their stances, and I examine the pose: lowered hips, extended arms, bent at the elbows, hands open. “Go!”
The first guys in line move so fucking fast I don’t know what the fuck’s what. I watch Rob. The kid against him stabs with one arm, reaching for a wrist. With the other he tries to get around Rob’s head. I’d punch a fuck if this were real, trying that shit, but I guess there’s none of that tonight. Shit, why aren’t they wearing gloves?
Rob slips and slides and counters the kid’s moves until he manages to grab a leg and take the guy to the ground. They end up in a heap on the floor but pop up, slap hands, and the next guy in line bolts out.
The process repeats and now it’s my turn with Amir. He’s sweating, breathing heavy, red around his face like he’s been slapped, and looking pissed. I freeze. He’s twice my size, easy, just fucking jacked. Rob and the other guy are already tangling with their opponents.
“Go on, Tony. Take it slow. He’s tired. Make him work.” Coach Dan nudges me from the side. I step out. Amir lowers his stance. I do the same. The guys behind me yell. “Come on, Tony.” “Get into him.” I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing, so I go low and try to get in the clinch like we practiced before. Amir gets my neck and I can’t breathe. The ceiling comes into view and then I’m on my back, just like before. But gently. Not like with Rob. Amir just laid me down. Didn’t slam me. No shit? This fuck could have fucking broken my spine. I stand up with Amir ‘s help and the crew claps.
“Nice job, Tony.”
“Way to get at it.”
I didn’t do shit, so why are they clapping? Maybe on my first night it’s all right. I move to the end of the line for the next dude and pay real close fucking attention. I watch how the guys tease each other, trying to get the other to grab an arm, lose his balance and then end up on the floor. Or the way they get a hold of the neck and then don’t fucking let go. Pull and push until they pop and drive the fucker down.
I get my turn with the second dude, Mike. “Dildo” they call him. He’s like a fucking broomstick but he can reach me standing against the back wall. I approach, get low and keep my base. He reaches and grabs and I slap his hand away. I watched him, saw how he’s got nothing with his left, only his right. I reach toward the tucked up arm and he stretches out over me for my neck. His long-ass arm is an inch from my face. I grab the bicep, push it to his side and tuck down, get the back of his waist and roll.
He’s on the ground! Holy Shit! He looks up at me, fucking lost. Behind me all the guys inhale. “No shit?” someone says. “Muthafucka.” Then they rip into applause. Somebody slaps my back and Dildo stands up. He’s pissed but then he smiles. “All right newb. I’ll take you serious from now on.” He slaps hands with me and I feel good. In fact, I haven’t felt this way in, shit, I don’t know how long. Yeah Rob’s onto something. Maybe Big O, too?