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Headlockby Joyce Sweeney
Synopses & Reviews
A killer combination of high-interest plot and unforgettable characters
"All kinds of people. Little kids, a lot of men, even people your age come to the shows."
"They come to see acrobats pretending to wrestle with each other? Kyle is this some kind of sexual thing?"
"No! It's an athletic thing! It's called sports entertainment. Meaning, it's like a sport, but it's all scripted like theater. You've seen me watching wrestling on Monday and Thursday nights. . . . "
"Oh, that thing! Kyle, do you mean that terrible program where they hit each other with chairs? It's like The Three Stooges! Why would a boy like you with all your talent and brains want to do something foolish like that?"
Kyle Bailey is a high-school senior who dreams of becoming a professional wrestler. He can't tell his beloved grandmother, who raised him, because she'll think it's ridiculous, but he gets himself accepted into a rigorous training school and earns a chance at his first professional match.
He's succeeding beyond his wildest dreams, falling in love with an amazing girl, and maybe even getting his grandmother to understand a little, when things take a dramatic turn for the worse. Kyle's flaky estranged mother shows up to "help," and--to his everlasting surprise--actually does.
Critically acclaimed author Joyce Sweeney's books have been chosen as Best Books for Young Adults (ALA), Best Books for the Teen Age (NYPL), Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (ALA), and as Top Ten Sports Books (Booklist).
An honest, warm, and funny novel, Headlock will make wrestling fans of the skeptical, and Joyce Sweeney fans of everyone.
"An 18-year-old trades gymnastics for a professional wrestling class — pursuing a chance to become 'a WWE superstar' — in Sweeney's latest novel, which makes the world of wrestling as fascinating a backdrop as basketball was in her Players. In class, Kyle Bailey finds a strange community, including an ex-con and a librarian; he even starts dating the lone female. Kyle also finds that he excels at professional wrestling's blend of 'acting and dance and acrobatics.' But right after his debut performance in a wrestling show, Kyle's grandmother, who raised him, is hospitalized. When Kyle puts everything on hold to care for her, he begins to realize that he could lose everything. The author lovingly describes an unusual subculture here (in Kyle's debut match, he is scripted to lose to Rat Boy, who celebrates victories by letting his pet rat crawl over his opponent). Even though the story arc is fairly obvious, readers will relate to Kyle, who was abandoned by his own mother, and so feels compelled to sacrifice his life for his grandmother. Readers may have trouble believing that such unusual characters could bond so quickly, or that serious problems, including Kyle's girlfriend's drinking, or his tense relationship with his mother, could resolve as easily as they do here. But Kyle's 'big soft heart' — and his amazing frog splash move on the mat — makes for a quirky combination that readers, especially wrestling fans, are sure to enjoy. Ages 14-up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Joyce Sweeney is the author of a dozen novels for young adults. She lives in Coral Springs, Florida, with her husband, Jay, and her cat, Macoco. Her hobbies include Native American studies, Florida natural history, and professional wrestling.
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