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One Good Punch by Rich Wallace
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One Good Punch

by Rich Wallace

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Reviewed by Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

ONE GOOD PUNCH is a sure-fire winner for any teen. Just short of 120 pages, it is a fast-paced, page-turner with suspense and humor. I predict it will end up on most Best Teen Books and Quick Reads lists soon.

Michael is a senior. An ambitious cross-country and track runner, he is hoping to use his talent as a stepping stone to a decent college. His part-time job at the Scranton Observer writing obituaries is giving him valuable experience as he dreams of someday writing novels.

Trusted by his parents, Michael leads the life of a typical 18-year-old. When not working or running, he spends most of his time with his best friend, Shelly. Mostly they hang out and talk or take in a movie at the Cultural Center downtown. Lately things have moved a bit more in the romantic direction, which Michael feels is a bit weird, but at the same time, it feels sort of right.

Life changes overnight for Michael when four joints are discovered in his locker during a routine drug sweep of the high school. Put there by his friend, Joey, they represent the possible end to Michael's future dreams. He did ask Joey to get him a couple of joints, but he never dreamed the kid would be stupid enough to put them in his locker.

Michael gets advice from just about everyone he knows that he should rat out Joey as his supplier. Even school officials suggest things would go easier for him if he tells. Torn between giving up his future plans and staying loyal to a longtime friend, Michael's world is turned upside-down. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 12, 2009 |
One Good Punch fits many of the characteristics of contemporary realistic fiction listed in this week’s module introduction. The characters were from different family structures. The novel was set in the school and at home. The everyday issues of family struggles and violence were woven into the storyline. The tone of the troy dealt with a serious issue. In addition, humor was used throughout the novel. The language and problems dealt with were consistent with teenage problem novels.
The text described themes that are found in problem novels. It stated, “The Best authors treat candidly and with respect problems that belong specifically to young adults in today’s world.” In referring to problem novels, the Literature Surveys and Research article reported that the young adult reader must believe “they could happen”. The problem novel themes and reality were evident in One Good Punch.

One Good Punch could be used in a classroom/ library program as a tool to open discussion on various topics. Opinions could be expressed on a number of issues using journals, debates, essays, PowerPoint presentation, etc. Concepts of peer pressure, drug education, consequences of one’s actions, choices, integrity, friendship, responsibility, career education (discussion on how one decision can change a person’s path to the future).
  mistre | Sep 20, 2009 |
Fast paced, easy-to-read novel about Michael Kerrigan during his last year of high school. Wanting to be a writer, Michael gets a job writing obituaries for the local newspaper in his spare time. Along with writing his interest is in running and is constantly practicing for the track team hoping to make state. A university is interested in him for the following year. Then a close friend of his puts drugs in his locker at school just before the school is swept by the police using a drug dog. Michael's dilemma is whether or not to tell the authorities that the drugs were put there by his friend or to take the punishment which will lead to losing his job, being exspelled from school, and losing his chances at the university. This book is hard to put down as you want to know if Michael makes the right choice or not. ( )
  bookladychris | Feb 24, 2009 |
Would you take the fall for drugs someone else put in your school locker? Wallace, of Wrestling Sturbridge, fame writes another hit that I know my boys will be anxious to read. It's short, action packed and rife with ethical dilemmas.
  spillarke | May 5, 2008 |
Michael has everything going for him. He wants to be a journalist and he writes obituaries for the local newspaper: not exactly something he likes but he's good at it and is well liked at the company. Things are looking very good for him, but unfortunately he gets himself into trouble when some one puts a joint into his locker--and he is faced with an ethical dilemma, not to mention a situation that could cost him his dreams of being a journalist...and the girl he likes. This is highly recommended for the reluctant reader boy because it's brief and too the point about the complexities of choices. ( )
  delias | Mar 8, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375813527, Hardcover)

ASK ANYBODY AROUND East Scranton High School: Michael Kerrigan is almost too good to be true. Dedicated athlete, captain of the track team, editorial assistant (obituary writer) at the Scranton Observer, he's never been in trouble, and he doesn't associate with troublemakers. This is the most important track season of his life - and he's ready.

That is, until the police find four joints in his locker. Soon Mike's seemingly perfect world is threatened, and with pressure coming from his parents, his childhood best friend, and his sort-of girlfriend, Mike is faced with a choice - a choice that will determine the kind of athlete, friend, and man he becomes.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:00:10 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Eighteen-year-old Michael Kerrigan, writer of obituaries for the Scranton Observer and captain of the track team, is ready for the most important season of his life--until the police find four joints in his school locker, and he is faced with a choice that could change everything.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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