Forged by Fire by Sharon Draper
IQ "I know what you meant. Since this kid is poor and black and his mother is living alone and unmarried, his father must be long gone. Well I'm here to tell you that not all black men are like that. There's millions of black families with a mama and a daddy and two kids and the 'average' American family...But unfortunately, this ain't one of them. I don't know where the boy's daddy is, I just didn't want you to assume. You coulda been wrong, you know?" Aunt Queen
As the sequel to Tears of a Tiger, I found Forged by Fire a bit disappointing. It didn't suck me in as quickly or as well. The story was still good and the characters were good, but not great. Forged by Fire wasn't as heart-wrenching as Tears of a Tiger. A sad story, but it didn't provoke much of an emotional response.
Gerald is abused by his stepfather and ignored by his mother. When he was three, his mother left him home alone with matches and a lighter. As you can imagine, Gerald, being a curious little baby, began playing with the lighter and the apartment caught on fire. He was rescued, but taken away from his mother and put in the care of his Aunt Queen Marie Antoinette Lincoln (love that name!). His Aunt Queen is loving and strict. She takes care of Gerald until she dies on his 9th birthday. He is forced to go live with his mother, abusive stepfather and new step sister, Angel.
Gerald is a nice character, but my favorite was Angel. Angel is *small spoiler alert* (although you can see it come shortly into the story) is sexually /physically abused by her stepfather. She's such a sweet girl and the author's descriptions of her dancing are very descriptive and I can see this thin, short, sweet girl dancing to keep the pain away.
Sharon Draper is still one of my favorite authors, Forged by Fire is just (so far) my least favorite of her books. I would have liked to see her do a book about one of the other teens in the car when Andy crashed and killed his best friend Rob (Gerald was friends with them but wasn't in the car at the time). I wouldn't recommend it, but for Sharon Draper fans and those who want to learn more about the Hazelwood High Teens, I suggest you read this book.