Kirkus Reviews QR Code
HEADLOCK by Joyce Sweeney


by Joyce Sweeney

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-8050-8018-X
Publisher: Henry Holt

A would-be WWE wrestler finds that having the moves may not be enough. His mother abandoned him as a baby, and Kyle has spent his entire life feeling invisible despite the love grandmother Chantal lavishes on him. Professional wrestling is his dream, and when he joins the Fort Knocks school, it looks like he might succeed, as well as win the heart of older (and somewhat damaged) fellow wrestler Ophelia. When Chantal begins to fail (stroke-induced dementia), Kyle puts his dream aside to care for her and begins to deal with the burdens of guilt and anger he feels for his mother. Despite the often fascinating WWE details, this is more problem novel than sports story and may have some trouble finding an audience. However, the straightforward plot combines with genuine emotional baggage—abandonment, alcoholism, first love and the cost of guilt and familial love—and a happy ending for a surprisingly satisfying read. (Fiction. YA)