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Forged by Fire Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1998

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 780L (What's this?)
  • Series: Hazelwood High Trilogy (Book 2)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse (January 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689818513
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689818516
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (209 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Sharon Draper has indeed forged a fiery name for herself in the field of young adult literature--that of a courageous writer, willing to tackle tough, real-life problems while developing honorable, streetwise role models for troubled teens. Her previous novel, Tears of the Tiger, garnered much acclaim and became the first recipient of the Coretta Scott King Genesis Award. In this second novel, Draper weaves in characters from Tears--most significantly Gerald Nickleby, a young basketball player who discovers his innate strength and determination while protecting his stepsister's safety and his mother's honor.

Unfortunately, Draper's strengths (her desire to delve into tough social issues, such as child abuse, drug addiction, incest, bulimia, and domestic violence) become this book's weakness as the story line teeters on implausible. For example, in less than 20 pages Gerald faces the following: the death of a close friend (a passenger in a car that was driven by a drunk teammate); the discovery of his drunk, evil stepfather trying to sexually assault his younger stepsister; a brutal attack by his stepfather; and a raging apartment fire that threatens to kill them all. Nonetheless, Draper creates believable and important heroes for teenage boys--those who are forged from adversity, only to burn more brightly and courageous. (Ages 12 and older) --Gail Hudson

From Publishers Weekly

This prequel to Draper's Tears of a Tiger is a stark portrayal of a young man struggling to protect his little sister from a drug-addicted mother and an abusive father. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Sharon Draper is a two-time Coretta Scott King Award-winning author, most recently for Copper Sun, and previously for Forged by Fire. She's also the recipient of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Author Award for New Talent for Tears of a Tiger and the Coretta Scott King Author Honor for The Battle of Jericho and November Blues. Her other books include Romiette and Julio, Darkness Before Dawn, and Double Dutch. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she taught high school English for twenty-five years. She's a popular conference speaker, addressing educational and literary groups both nationally and internationally.

Customer Reviews

Forged by Fire really is a good book I like it because it keeps me wanting to read more.
Forged by Fire by Sharon M. Draper is a very good book it tells about Geral's Aunt who dies and his neglecting mother.
I had my high school reading class read the book and each of the students were mesmorized by how good the book was.
W. D. Thornton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Michael A. Spikes on September 29, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Hi and in advance, thanks for checking out my review. I being a little older than the targeted audience (I'm a 17 y/o {black} male in 11th grade who usually dosen't like to read unless it's for school) recently picked up this book at my local library. The book was not used for a school project but, I got it because I thought it would be interesting.
I will say that I would promote the book for classroom use for probably 6-9th graders. The book deals with very strong issues plauging the present time in a clear, contemporary style. The book is very fast paced.. (lightning fast, actually) which I think kids will like better than reading a full novel (I would) and with this fast-paced movement, it does get a tad confusing at times while dealing with multiple conflicts.
The main problem is that there are so many problems that are thrown out to the main character Gerald, (Who the book deals with through age 3-17) that not not one is comnpletely resolved before another occurs. (I still have a few questions myself after reading) The characters are very believeable but the problems that happen and mostly when they do happen are the things that bring the book down. I would recommend the book to any teen wishing for some good, heartfelt, fast paced reading.
I've seen a review that says the book deals with bulimia along with other issues... actually, it does not. It states that the character Angel throws up a lot but, that's mostly because she's so nervous around her father.
Oh, and if the Author is out there... Hear me out... Ever since reading the end, I would like to see a sequel. I don't know about the rest of you but, I'd pick it up. (No, I haven't had a chance to read "Tears of a Tiger" yet, but I will be soon.)
Thanks for hearing me out.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Helen Carter on August 5, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is about Gerald, at 3 yrs old, was abused himself by his mother. His mother will hit him and leave him in his diapers all day if he poops in them, to teach him a lesson. His mother was on drugs and often left him in the apartment alone. Well, one day, his mother left to buy some drugs from Leroy, some man that smell sweet. And Gerald decide to play with his GI Joe and a lighter. Suddenly, the apartment is on fire. He goes and hide behind the couch. The neighbor decide to check up on him, if it wasn't for the neighbor, Gerald would of die from smoke inhallation.
His mother goes to prison for child endangerment. And also she goes to drug rehab. Aunt Queen comes to the rescue and Gerald went to live with her for six years. Then his world comes crashing down on his ninth birthday. Aunt Queen dies and he have go to live with his mother. His mother is married to Jordan, who claim to be Angel's father, but isn't. Jordan is violent and will hit Gerald, his mother, and his sister, Angel, whenever he gets drunk. Also, Jordan will sexually molest Angel, which disgusts me. When Gerald went to move in with his mother, he couldn't bring himself to call her mama anymore, so he call her by her first name, Monique.
Well, from the day Gerald moves in, he vows to protect his sister. His sister like to dance like any typical 7-yr-old. Well, Gerald turns in Jordan for sexually abuse, and he finally gets out of prison when Gerald is 17 and Angel is 13. Ok, when Gerald is 17, his best friend, Robert Washington, dies in a car crash because Andy was driving drunk and crash into a wall.
This, indeed, is a real sad book that I read and I couldn't put it down. I have to order "Tears of a Tiger" and "Dawn by Darkness" one of these days. I read this book back when I was in the 10th grade. This book will made you angry against abuse of kids, and make you want to do something..
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 26, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Gerald, a determined young teenager, faces a drastic change in his life. He is suddenly thrown into a household that is filled with anger, abuse, and addiction. He is forced to face a mean stepfather and to discover the house secret. Faced with his past and new challenges, he learns how to grow into a positive and caring role model, especially for his stepsister Angel. An excellent book for middle school children and up on facing what could possibly be happening behind closed doors.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Maria Luna on February 7, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Draper, Sharon M. Forged by Fire. New York, NY: Simon Pulse, 1997.

The story of Gerald, who from a very young age learns to struggle to survive, moves into his aunt's house after a fire sends his mother away to jail for child endangerment and for being a drug addict. As his mother returns after leaving jail, Gerald finds out she is married to Jordan, a bad tempered man, and that he has a younger sister, Angel. He is forced to move back with his mother after his aunt abruptly passes away, where he is forced to be strong and protect his younger sister from his stepfather. He soon finds out that his mother does not have free will and is controlled by Jordan. He finds his strength to stay hopeful and struggle to survive for his sister, who is being abused by Jordan. He is able to send Jordan away once, but once Jordan returns again, he needs to find the inner strength to confront Jordan again.

The 156 page book is very well written and has a strong storyline that will entertain many of the young adults who read it. The main character, Gerald, is a character to admire for his inner strength and will to survive in uncontrollable circumstances. He is an example of how to reach out to others who are in more of a need than you, through difficult circumstances in life. The book could be a very intense and at times feels very overwhelming and implausible because he faces the death of his teammate, his stepfather, Jordan, is attacking his sister, a confrontation with Jordan, and a fire that threatens the lives of everyone. Although at a fifth grade reading level, it does address many of the social issues young people have to face and experience in real life, such as physical, sexual and emotional abuse, drug addiction, eating disorders, and domestic violence.
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