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Bug Boy (2009)

by Eric Luper(Favorite Author)
3.98 of 5 Votes: 4
0374310009 (ISBN13: 9780374310004)
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
review 1: Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.comBUG BOY takes readers deep into the world of horse racing. Eric Luper, author of BIG SLICK, a book that highlights card playing, brings the behind-the-scenes images of horse racing alive.Jack "Shabby" Walsh says he has loved horse racing since "his diaper hit the saddle." He is now sixteen and has been gone from home for years. His father first set him up with a character named Tweed. From Tweed, Jack learned the ins and outs of the horse racing circuit, but he also learned how evil a human being can get.When the story starts, Jack has a pretty good thing going with Mr. Hodge and Mr. Pelton. He does everything from working the horses along with trainer Mr. Hodge to mucking out the stalls. The job pays enough t... moreo allow him to send money home to his family and to keep him alive. He still dreams of working as a real jockey some day.Jack's luck changes with the bad luck of a jockey named Showboat. A fatal accident in the starting gate opens up a spot for a new rider. Jack is now officially a bug boy; in other words, a jockey in training. His luck holds when he is able to place in the first two races of his career. Things look fantastic for a quick rise to the top.Amidst the training and racing activities, Jack connects with Elizabeth. She is horse racing's first female bookie. Even though she is from a world far different than Jack's and she towers over him, she wants him with her constantly and insists on showing him the town with his newfound wealth. Along with her attention, Jack finds himself in the sights of a creep named Jasper who wants to use Jack's inside connections to fix a race.BUG BOY may start out focusing on a quiet stable boy, but the action ramps up quickly and doesn't slack off as the horses and characters race to the end. Readers who enjoyed BIG SLICK will be equally impressed with Luper's new book, and it is sure to win him many new fans, as well.
review 2: BUG BOY releases in June 2009. This review is based on an ARC.This is a book that's going to make teen boys fall in love with historical fiction without ever knowing what hit them. Set in 1934 Saratoga, BUG BOY is about an apprentice jockey who finds himself living the high life when his big opportunity comes knocking. But secrets from his past, pressure from a race course thug, and the attention of a beautiful young woman from the other side of the fence make his life more complicated than he could have imagined. This title is probably best for older middle school and high school students, since the realistic portrayal of rough track life includes some language and sexual situations. Actually, I'm betting that a bunch of adult readers are going to discover and love this book, too - it has incredible crossover appeal, especially for horse racing and history fans.Fascinating, gritty, and full of tension, BUG BOY is a sure win. less
Reviews (see all)
Would have liked a little more of the gambling aspect. Too much love story and jockey info.
I liked this one, historical fiction about Saratoga horse racing.
Great book!
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