Gutless is a YA inspirational book that challenges one's character and morality. Brock Ripley is a football player who is afraid under pressure, and is very reluctant to tackle someone in the game. Off the field, he has the same dilemma. His new friend, Richie Fang, is being bullied by Brock's teammates, and he needs to find the strength and bravery to stick up for his friend before it's too late.
I greatly enjoyed this book! Gutless replays a scenario that we know all too well these days, and shows teens what can happen when you pretend that everything is okay. No matter how much Richie hid behind humor and jokes, it was obvious that he was in really deep pain, and it really angers me that these people never get what they deserve.
Brock struggled a lot being the bystander. On one hand, he can stand up for Richie and do the right thing, but betray his team and put himself in the line of fire, as well. On the other hand, he can just give Richie moral support, which was what he ended up doing most of the time until it was too late and he missed the warning signs.
All sports fans will understand the emotion of victory and painful loss. Teens struggling with fear and pressure to succeed will also relate to Brock. It's a story of triumph over fear and learning how to do the right thing even when it doesn't seem to be the right thing at all. This book teaches people to always speak out if someone is in danger, regardless of the social consequences with their peers. I liked how he made mistakes and was not always a great friend because that teaches the readers what to do differently, how to support and stand up for someone before things get taken too far.
I highly recommend this book!
Author: Carl Deuker
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Rating: 5 Stars