If I Grow Up - Todd Strasser
In the Frederick Douglass Project where DeShawn lives, daily life is ruled by drugs and gang violence. Dropping out of school and joining a gang is the norm and every kid knows someone who's 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 anything they want, 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 projects, 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.