Random//Make Me a World. Nov. 2019. 400p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780525581031.
Gr 9 Up–Gravity Delgado, a scrappy half-Dominican, half-Jewish girl, dreams of becoming a champion. She’s been training with her gruff but lovable coach at Brooklyn’s Cops ‘n Kids with other boxers, many of whom are preparing to compete in the U.S. trials for the Rio Olympics. Gravity’s proud of her undefeated record and hopes to make a booming entrance onto the Olympic scene, but her focus is constantly at risk of being pulled in different directions—she cares for her eight-year-old brother, clashes with her alcoholic, abusive mother, falls hard for her slick-talking teammate (but has unacknowledged feelings for another), battles sleep through classes at her alternative high school, tiptoes through friend drama with another teammate, and has a bitter fight with Coach, who is her primary father figure. Deming, a New York Golden Gloves champion and boxing journalist, captures the training and fight scenes with perfection. Sexism, feminism, and LGBTQ+ topics are peppered throughout (how could they not be in a book about female boxing?) and Deming’s light touch of all the issues in Gravity’s orbit allows readers to simultaneously focus on her boxing and understand how hard she is working to overcome the obstacles in her path. Supported by realistic dialogue and a fully developed cast of secondary characters, Gravity is an honest, one-in-a-million main character with a heart of gold who readers will be rooting for from page one.
VERDICT Deming pulls no punches in this flawless debut. A recommended first purchase.

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