Rated 3 stars *** Bare Knuckle series. Published March 1, 2014. ARC. Darby Creek Publishing.
Mr. Chilton rescued Luc from his hard life in Quebec four years earlier. Luc is not sure, but thinks he might be sixteen or seventeen years old. He doesn’t talk much and likes to see Mr. Chilton happy, so has become their breadwinner in his new life in The Bowery. It’s now 1874. Every day he boxes in a nearby bar while Mr. Chilton pockets (or drinks) his winnings then they head to a flophouse for the night.
Luc doesn’t like violence, but is content with this life and routine until Mr. Hardt shows up with a couple of kangaroos, one of which is a baby. Luc’s tender heart breaks when he sees how the adult kangaroo is pushed to fight and is ultimately killed. He doesn’t want the same thing to happen to the joey, so decides to kidnap it.
Unfortunately Luc barely speaks English and doesn’t know where to go. The only thing he knows how to do is fight, but will that be enough to help him and his baby kangaroo survive the mean streets of The Bowery and stay ahead of Mr. Chilton and Mr. Hardt?
“The Giant” is a quick read for reluctant readers, especially boys, and is recommended for ages 11-16.