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Kung Fu High School
Ryan Gattis
Adult Fiction GATTIS

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From Publishers' Weekly:

The student body of the titular high school is armed, girded with armor and versed in martial arts in this ultraviolent, dystopian debut novel from Gattis, the spawn of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Cormier. With a corrupt, ineffectual administration, Kung Fu High has become a prisonlike society ruled by gangs and neglected by the law. The novel's teenage warrior narrator, Jen B., tells the story of her cousin Jimmy Chang, a world champion martial artist and hero to his peers who vows to his mother that he'll never fight again after he's arrested for drubbing a band of thugs. But Jimmy faces a brutal initiation ritual when he transfers to Kung Fu High, a beating he takes without resistance until Jen's brother, Cue, attacks Jimmy's tormenters. Cue, in turn, is murdered, and Jen must negotiate complex school politics while fighting for survival and trying to avenge her brother's death. Jimmy, her only trusted ally, must break his pacifist vow or see his cousin destroyed. With clinical detachment, Gattis splashes graphic descriptions of violence and gore throughout the novel. The " `gangbanger' Armageddon" final chapters of this story may feel predictable, but the martial arts mayhem is as detailed and balletic as a John Woo movie. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

An exaggerated examination of drugs and gang culture in high school, this debut is set at an institution known as Kung Fu High, where every student is a gang member and where fighting and drug deals are a daily occurrence. Narrator Jen and brother Cue, the best fighter at Kung Fu High, are members of a gang called the Waves. Their cousin, martial arts master Jimmy, keeps a promise to his mother and refuses to fight, which results in Cue's death. Suddenly, Jimmy and the Waves become targets for the other gangs that a lowlife named Ridley manipulates to assure the success of a large drug deal. This all leads to a harrowing battle in which numerous students and staff are killed or hurt. The brutally injured Jen realizes that fighting is "damaging not only to your body but your soul too"-a didactic discovery in the closing pages that does not redeem this exercise in descriptive carnage. The book reads like a script for a video game rated for (im)mature audiences and includes illustrations and instructions on armor and weapon construction. Not recommended for most collections.-David A. Berona, Univ. of New Hampshire Lib., Durham (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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more titles about

main characters Jimmy Chang
World Champion martial artist; vows never to fight again after being arrested for fighting; transfers to Kung Fu High; receives a brutal initiation.

Jen B.
Her brother is murdered avenging Jimmy.

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