by Todd Strasser

If I Grow Up coverTo children everywhere, the question of what they want to do with their lives is always when I grow up, but with DeShawn and the other children from the gang-run projects, it is a question of IF I grow up. If I Grow Up explores the life of DeShawn, a young boy who was raised and lived in the Projects, a run-down part of town and home to the Disciples, a gang. DeShawn is a young, bright boy and everyone sees him as the type to grow up and make something of himself and DeShawn promised himself that he would never become one of the gangbangers and get involved in the mess of the projects. Yet, under harsh conditions and with want of money in order to feed his family, the gangs are his only answer. Joining the Disciples and learning the ropes, DeShawn's life slowly goes downhill.

If I Grow Up is a book that will leave all readers speechless and wondering. It opens the readers' eyes and shows them what is going on in the dark side of town and gives the story of those who live with broken families in broken towns. Yet, it does more than just make the reader hope for change; it forces the reader to want to get up and do whatever is humanly possible to help those that need it, to help save innocent children before they turn to the dark path.

I would beyond a doubt recommend this book to everyone and anyone who wants to make a change. Those of you who want to see how the world really works and what goes on in the broken parts of town, what forces innocent kids join gangs and go to jail, will love this book. Trust me, it will get you thinking not only about what is going on, but about what you can do to help.

Jana, 16


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