Bug Boy by Eric Luper
It is the summer of 1934, and even at the height of the Great Depression, money is no object for the socialites at posh Saratoga Race Course. The trouble is times are tough for everyone else, especially penniless track workers like fifteen-year-old Jack Walsh. When Jack suddenly graduates from exercise rider to apprentice jockey, or bug boy, he is an overnight sensation. Success brings him all sorts of attention, including that of a brainy blond beauty who is more involved with the gritty underbelly of the track than she lets on and a vicious thug who presses Jack to break his code as a jockey for a payoff that could solve all his family's problems.
Set amid the rough backstretch of Thoroughbred racing, this edge-of-your-saddle read follows the course of a young athlete whose rise to glory in the most popular sport in America is accompanied by ever-increasing pressure to do something that could leave him trampled in the dirt.
"Luper is at his best...Teens will find themselves thundering through the home stretch in order to discover whether Jack will win, place or show in this first-rate novel." -Kirkus Reviews
"It's a perfectly told tale that will rank among the great horse stories (think Seabiscuit meets Rocky) and captures a unique era of Americana as good or better than Al Capone Does my Shirts. This horse has got legs and is a sure bet to win." - Greg Neri, award-winning author of Yummy and Ghetto Cowboy
"Fascinating, gritty, and full of tension, BUG BOY is a sure win." – Kate Messner, award-winning author of The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z and Sugar and Ice
"Luper takes no prisoners in the unsparingly bleak depiction...of the corrupt, high-stakes world of Thoroughbred racing. Racing fans and history buffs alike will doubtless enjoy the ride." – Booklist
Ages 13 and up
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Hardcover ISBN-10: 0374310009
Hardcover ISBN-13: 9780374310004
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