The Boy Who Hit Back
When Matt discovers a dark secret about Barlow, an ex-prizefighter, he's convinced he is the only person who can save him and risks everything in the process. As Matt sinks deeper into New York City's skid-row, a hell-hole infested with liars, cheats, thugs, depravity, kidnapping, and death, he discovers that sometimes, the brightest lights come from the darkest places. Determined to claw himself and Sailor back from the brink of destruction, Matthew discovers new bravery, innate cunning, and something even more rewarding than he could have ever imagined.
The Boy Who Hit Back evokes the best of Catcher in the Rye's portrayal of a too-tough young man, and is comparable to The Outsiders, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and Speak—all powerful, unsentimental coming-of-age novels that hit the sweet spot between character and plot-driven fiction.
“Easy to read and hard to put down, The Boy Who It Back is set in the recent past, but reflects the looming present. This novel is all about how tricky it is for people to connect in this new world of ours. Fame, love, drugs, death are all here and the ending—like those in real life—is sweet, but with an aftertaste of longing.”
– Benjamin Cheever, Author of The Partisan, Editor's Choice of the New York Times Best Books of the Year
“We're in John Green territory, without the tears, as a tough boy and a smart girl drag a punch-drunk fighter back to life and along the way make their own comebacks. Peter throws a sweet sentence and can knock you out with a paragraph!"
– Robert Lipsyte, author of The Contender
“Peter Wood’s The Boy Who Hit Back is a story for anyone who ever wanted to take a swing at authority or dreamed of meeting one of the all-time greats of sport. This is a truly touching portrait of an intelligent, angry adolescent’s redemption thanks to the magnetic allure of an ailing, broken-down former boxing champion, the ghost of the great Mickey Walker come to life.”
– Ronald K. Fried of The Daily Beast
"Wood’s gut-bucket prose and insight into the human psyche is riveting, disturbing, thought-provoking, intuitive, and extremely visceral. Wood takes no shortcuts and offers no apologies for this book's nuanced grittiness, as it explores all aspects of the human psyche..."
– Robert Mladinich, Author of From the Mouth of the Monster: The Joel Rifkin Story