Three wrestlers in their senior year and last season are desperate to leave their unhappy lives behind as they compete with each other and themselves in this gritty story.
Trevor is haunted by his father, who died the year before, and angry at his mother, who moves them into the seedy motel she manages for a friend. Jimmy aspires to become a teacher and coach, but he's saddled with an abusive, alcoholic father who steals building supplies. Overwhelmed by pressure to live up to his older brother's past success, Diggy cheats at wrestling. The three also work through complicated relationships with girlfriends. Trevor and Diggy vie for the same weight class, and Trevor's displacement of Diggy prompts a betrayal that threatens to destroy the team. The characters have equal measures of positive and negative attributes, but none are likable. Coughlin's passion for and knowledge of wrestling is apparent in this fast-paced, vivid narrative that is often compelling but never light. This novel will inevitably appeal to boys, especially fans of stories in which sports figures prominently.
A compelling story, but a dark, heavy and humorless one without much hope. (Fiction. 14 & up)