The Ring by Bobbie Pyron I found out about The Ring a few months back while browsing Authors Now , a site for debut children's and young adult authors. I sent the author an email, asking if she would send me a copy. I don't do that on a regular basis (only 2nd time) but I couldn't resist. A female boxer, that's too much temptation for me. If I had know Pyron was still working on The Ring, I would have waited. She was kind enough to send me a copy of her WIP. I liked it well enough but the final book oh my, I really really enjoyed. Some of the changes I noticed right off, others I could simply feel as I read but I couldn't point them out. That's probably for the best, part of the magic of reading a book is not knowing the work behind the words.
15yr old Mardie Wolfe is struggling to find her footing. The book opens with her being driven home by the police after being charged with drunk and disorderly conduct. While on punishment, Mardie is forced to go to the gym with her step mother, Amy. At the gym Mardie discovers boxing. On that first night she simply watched.
"On the drive home, I smiled in the dark, tapping my foot like a maniac. I loved the smell of sweat and leather in the training room. I loved the sound of the small hanging bag going bip-bip-bip, bip-bip-bip, and the dry slap aganist the floor." (From ARC)
Amy helps Mardie convince her dad its okay for girls to box. Mardie takes to the lessons but boxing isn't a sport that comes easy. Even though Mardie's discovered the ring, the chaos that is life doesn't stop. She still misses her mom who died in a car accident. Trying to do what she can to please her dad. Living in the shadow of her lacrosse star, older brother, Michael. A boyfriend who wants more then Mardie is willing to give. A bestfriend who won't return her phone calls. Those are only a few of the issues Mardie must deal with, and yes its a lot but somehow the author makes it work.
The transtions are smooth, the storylines uncluttered. There is something about Mardie I really liked. I could feel her frustrations and self doubt. Mardie is far from perfect, she outs her brother to their parents out of jealousy. Now the Wolfe family must adjust to this new truth. Mardie spent more time training, getting the technique down then in the ring. There was something very honest and fitting about that. I really enjoyed the time Mardie spent with Kitty the trainer and the other girls. All the training is leading up to a tournament in Denver. Mardie lost her first fight, there are somethings even training can't help.
"But Dad didn't think I was good enough to come watch. I felt like I was right back in the gym, that night when Ben and Sam saw me in the ring. Huge, stupid looking gloves hung at the end of long skinny arms. I looked like a freak" (from ARC)
I think a lot of girls will be able to relate to that feeling of not measuring up. It's not a new theme but the ring is, this book tells girls its okay to put on a pair of gloves. The action in the ring is v
very good. I loved the sparring Mardie did with the other girls in her gym. The author writing is good and she avoids stereotypical pitfalls. One of the other boxers, a latina, Shireen lives with her mother and younger siblings. When Shireen is asked about her dad, my first thought was uh-oh. Will he be in A) jail, B)dead or C)never in the picture. I was very happy to see it was D) none of the above. Shireen's dad in the reserves and was deployed for the second time.
Pyron truly committed to Mardie. By the end Mardie finds her rhythm inside and outside of the ring. She can stand up to the other girls in the ring and to the classmates who mocked her, without her knees buckling. This looks like the first book in a series and I hoping that is the case. There is much growth protential for Mardie Wolfe and all of Kitty's girls. I look forward to reading more. The Ring is published by WestSide Books and is slated to be released Sept.
Read an excerpt