by Robert Lipsyte
Summary: As his best friend starts down a path of crime and drugs, Albert tries to resist in spite of constant harassment from street punks. He visits Donatelli's Gym, the neighborhood boxing club, looking to overcome his fears. Does Albert have what it takes to be a contender? A champion? He's about to find out.
Thoughts: This is such an absorbing novel. I was drawn to Albert from the beginning and pulled for him throughout every page. This book was published before I was born, but amazingly, it's just as relevant and powerful today as it was when it was written.