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When Gerald was a child he was fascinated by fire. But fire is
dangerous and powerful, and tragedy strikes. His substance-addicted
mother is taken from him. Then he loses the loving generosity of a
favorite aunt. A brutal stepfather with a flaming temper and an
evil secret makes his life miserable. The one bright light in
Gerald''s life is his little half sister, Angel, whom he struggles
to protect from her father, Jordan Sparks, who abuses her, and from
their mother, whose irresponsible behavior forces Gerald to work
hard to keep the family together.
As a teenager, Gerald finds success as a member of the Hazelwood
Tigers basketball team, while Angel develops her talents as a
dancer. Trouble still haunts them, however, and Gerald learns,
painfully, that young friends can die and old enemies must be
faced. In the end he must stand up to his stepfather alone in a
Sharon M. Draper has interwoven characters and events from her
previous novel, Tears of a Tiger, in this unflinchingly realistic
portrayal of poverty and child abuse. It is an inspiring story of a
young man who rises above the tragic circumstances of his life by
drawing on the love and strength of family and friends.