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If I Grow Up

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.



In the Frederick Douglass Project where DeShawn lives, daily life is ruled by drugs and gang violence. Many teenagers drop out of school and join gangs, and every kid knows someone who died. Gunshots ring out on a regular basis.

DeShawn is smart enough to know he should stay in school and keep away from the gangs. But while his friends have drug money to buy fancy sneakers and big-screen TVs, DeShawn's family can barely afford food for the month. How can he stick to his principles when his family is hungry?

In this gritty novel about growing up in the inner city, award-winning author Todd Strasser opens a window into the life of a teenager struggling with right and wrong under the ever-present shadow of gangs.

From Publishers Weekly

Jan 19, 2009 – In this superficially compelling but heavy-handed book about gang culture, narrator DeShawn faces tough circumstances and limited choices. Readers first meet DeShawn as a smart 12-year-old with potential; four years later, he is a gang member in charge of operations at his housing project. While the story has a Law and Order–type drama, it also runs on cliché: the determined grandmother, the star-crossed love, the jealous second-in-command, the concerned cop and the teacher who reaches out knowing his offer will be rejected. The plot serves the author's agenda, which Strasser (Give a Boy a Gun) puts in plain sight: he opens each section with a statistic plus a rap lyric, and his foreword and last chapter argue that “significant numbers of American citizens—mostly minorities, and many living in impoverished inner-city areas—are doomed to fail.” Given that Strasser's foreword explicitly defines himself and his audience as more privileged than his characters (“we forget that millions of inner-city denizens are just like us”), it's hard to escape the feeling that his story is more well-meaning than authentic. Ages 12–up.

Customer Reviews


this is one of the best books I ever read! It ll get you hooked and make you cry about LaRue's case

GREAT book!!

loved, loved, LOVED this book! great for teens to relate to.

If I grow up book

I loved this book! An right now it's my favorite book at this point :)

If I Grow Up
View in iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Level: Grades 7 and Above
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Coming of Age
  • Published: Feb 24, 2009
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
  • Seller: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc.
  • Print Length: 240 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings

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