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Breaking Rank Paperback – May 17, 2012
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The Clan, as the clique is called, is a highly nontraditional gang. While they disavow participation in school, these enigmatic boys don't believe in drugs or violence, and are advocates of self-education--older members tutor younger apprentices in everything from car mechanics to Latin. But the comfort and acceptance of the Clan is no longer enough for Thomas, or "Baby," as he is known by his family. Baby wants to be more than just a mechanic like his domineering older brother, so he breaks rank from his peers and takes an aptitude test at school. Once the administrators are aware of Baby's intelligence, the principal pairs him with honor student Casey Willardson to help him catch up in the gifted program. As the two work together--dark, handsome rebel and beautiful, popular schoolgirl--the preconceptions and misunderstandings they have about each other are slowly stripped away. They quickly become close and learn to trust and even love each other. But Baby and Casey discover that even though they don't care about superficial differences, their friends do. Their relationship provokes a showdown between the Clan and the varsity football team that promises to end in disaster.
In a tale reminiscent in many ways of The Outsiders, West Side Story, and, most obviously, Romeo and Juliet, Kristen D. Randle nevertheless gives new life to an old story line with her detailed description of the Clan's structure and how the group comes into conflict with the regimented social hierarchy of high school. Readers will appreciate the realism and intelligence of this novel, and may also learn a lesson in peer pressure and independent thinking. (Ages 12 and older) --Jennifer Hubert --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
This novel challenges stereotypes and stigmas when an unprecedented friendship develops between two teens of rival high school groups. "Randle is adept at conveying ingrained prejudices as well as the frustration and alienation that leads some youths to forsake the `straight' world for a more friendly and accepting one of their own making," said PW. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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In the novel you will meet the Clan that Thomas is in at the beginning of the book. Thomas had taken a high school achievement test and does very well. So he was placed in the high honors classes. Casey, another honors student, helped tutor him on catching up to the rest. Between Thomas' home, the Clan, and Casey, Thomas is pulled in many different directions with different expectations.
The Clan leader Lenny, who is Thomas' older brother has a bit of a reaction when he finds out that Thomas is in honors classes. Thomas "baby" is the first member of the Clan to be placed in honors classes. He is the only member that was able to break through the "crib". When you read the book you will learn about Lenny's reaction and something that happens in the mean time throughout the novel.
Thomas, a.k.a. Baby, was a little different than the rest of the clan members. He knows that he has learned a lot from the Clan but wants to improve himself, to show that he can accomplish more. Thomas takes a standardized test. When the results come back, he finds out that he does extremely well and is even put into the honors program at school. Mr. Hall, a teacher from school, put a girl named Casey in charge of tutoring Baby. Mr. Hall states that "People who love you want the best for you. They are not going to choke you, or reshape you, or stand in your way when you do something good." He encourages baby to work to his potential.
As Casey starts to help Baby, her family is worried for Casey's safety, and her friends start to worry about her because she is befriending them and is with an "Outsider. Casey's mom warns her "You know it's not going to be simple." As they start to work together, they start to have respect for each other and form deep bond.
When the Clan finds out what Baby is up to, they start to lose respect for him and force him out of the Clan. The Clan members taunt Baby. "You never told us you had friends." The clan members eventually become jealous of Baby's new talents and try to get him to come back to the Clan.
As Baby and Casey's relationship grows stronger, Baby's problems become part of Casey's problems. Casey is good person who does no evil but treats her and Baby's relationship as a game. She is attracted to Baby but in the end, doesn't see him as a real person.
Overall, I thought that the book was a great book and I recommend it to anyone. It was a lot like Romeo and Juliet and how they were from two different worlds. Even though, they made it work and form a great relationship.