Synopses & Reviews
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.
After he was almost killed in an apartment fire while his mother went to buy drugs, Gerald was raised by his aunt. Then one day, six years later, his mother returns with her new husband and Angel, Gerald's little sister. As the children grow up, it becomes more and more apparent that Angel needs Gerald's protection from her father's abuse. But who will protect Gerald? Young Adult.
About the Author
Sharon Mills Draper, born in Cleveland, Ohio, has been writing and teaching for over twenty years. She has always encouraged in her students a love of learning through literature and a respect for excellence in writing.
Her literary recognition began when, as a challenge from one of her students, she entered and won first prize in the 1991 Ebony Magazine Literary Contest, for which she was awarded $5,000 and the publication of her short story "One Small Torch." Since that time, she has had numerous poems and stories published, and is also the author of the Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs series of books for middle readers. Her previous novel for Atheneum, Tears of a Tiger, was critically acclaimed and the recipient of the first Coretta Scott King Genesis Award.
Active in numerous literary and educational organizations, she currently serves on the board of directors of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, was one of the first teachers in the nation to achieve National Board Certification, and was recently honored at the White House for these accomplishments.
Sharon Draper often addresses educational and literary groups with entertaining readings of her poetry and novels, as well as with enlightening instructional presentations. She currently chairs the English department at Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati, where she still works at teaching students to write.