Luther T. Farrell has got to get out of Flint, Michigan.As his best friend Sparky says, Flint's nothing but the Titanic. And his mother, a.k.a. the Sarge, says, Take my advice and stay off the sucker path. The Sarge milked the system to build an empire of slum housing and group homes. Luther's just one of the many people trapped in the Sarge's Evil Empire but he's about to bust out.If Luther wins the science fair this year, he'll be on track for college and a future as America's best-known and best-loved philosopher. All he's got to do is beat his arch rival Shayla Patrick, the beautiful daughter of Flint's finest undertaker and the love of Luther's life.Sparky's escape plans involve a pit bull named Poofy and the world's scariest rat. Oh, and Luther. Add to the mix Chester X., Luther's mysterious roommate; Dontay Gaddy, a lawyer whose phone number is 1-800-SUE'M ALL; and Darnell Dixon, the Sarge's go-to guy who knows how to break all the rules.Bucking the Sarge is a story that only Christopher Paul Curtis could tell. Once again the Newbery Award winning author of Bud, Not Buddy and The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963 gives us a whole new angle on life and a world full of unforgettable and hilarious characters. Readers will root for Luther and Sparky every step of the way.Praise for The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963:An exceptional first novel. Publishers Weekly, StarredRibald humor . . . and a totally believable child's view of the world will make this book an instant hit. School Library Journal, StarredPraise for Bud, Not Buddy:Curtis has given a fresh, new look to a traditional orphan-finds-a-home story that would be a crackerjack read-aloud. School Library Journal, StarredFrom the Hardcover edition.
PW's starred review said, "Featuring characters so lively they seem to jump off the page and a gratifying resolution, this vibrant modern-day battle between greed and morality proves that there is more than one way to come out on top." Ages 12-up. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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May 07, 2006
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Excerpt from Bucking the Sarge by Christopher Paul Curtis
“Just a minute, fellas. Hello?” “Luther?” It was Sparky. He sounded like he’d just run five miles. “Have you looked outside, bruh?” I could hear the wind howling behind him. “Yeah, where you at?” “I’m on the phone outside Seven-Eleven. It’s like a hurricane out here!” “Then why don’t you get inside? Are you coming over?” The 7-Eleven was only a couple of blocks away. Sparky said, “Uh-uh. I need you to meet me behind Taco Bell.” “You need what?” “Seriously! This is my big chance, baby! Before this night is over I’m going to be calling 1-800-SUE-EM-ALL. I finally got someone to sic the big D.O.G. on.” He started barking into the phone. “Sparky, what are you talking about?” “I’ma put me a suit in on Taco Bell!” “Oh, you’re gonna do that old I-found-a-rat-in-my-burrito trick?” Sparky said, “Please, they peeped out that scam a long time ago, they even do autopsies on the rat if you claim that happened. I got the bomb, baby! But I’m gonna need your help.” “Uh-oh.” “Uh-uh, Luther, this is for real. I walked by Taco Bell and all them red tiles are lifting up off the roof and knocking the mess out of everything in the parking lot! One went clean through someone’s windshield!” “Sounds dangerous.” “Which is why you gotta get down here.” I said, “Why would I come out on a night like this to watch some roofing tiles crashing into cars . . .” Then I understood. “Now I get it, you want a witness that you got hit by one of those tiles, right?” “Something like that, but I need a little more.” “I’m listening.” “I really do need to get hit, and you’re the only one I can trust to do it right.” “Aw, no. That ain’t happening!” “Come on, Luther, I already got one of the tiles set to do it. All you gotta do is kinda tap me in the head, then walk me into Taco Bell and have them call an ambulance.” “What?” “Don’t worry, bruh, you know when I get paid I’ma break a little something off for you.” “You must be kidding.” “Luther, don’t make me beg.” “I can’t do it, Sparky. Besides, you’re cutting into my science fair project time. Plus I gotta put the Crew to bed, that’s going to take at least half an hour.” Sparky said, “If that’s the best you can do, half an hour then, behind the Taco Bell.” “Cool.” He said, “I just hope the wind hasn’t died down by then, it’ll be on you if it has. Your half hour could be costing us a whole lotta benjamins, my brother.” “I’ll see you in half an hour, but this better be quick, I’ma just whack you in the head, then I gotta bounce.” Sparky didn’t have to worry, by the time I’d settled everyone down and started walking to Taco Bell the wind had even picked up some. The stop sign on the corner was twisting back and forth in the wind, sounding like a rocket made out of tin cans and duct tape getting ready to blast off. The wind was hot in a way that made you want to close your eyes and tilt your head back and breathe real deep. Or maybe even howl. Something from the roof of Taco Bell somersaulted through the air, then smashed into t