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The Contender (The Contender #1)

3.6  ·  Rating details ·  3,588 Ratings  ·  485 Reviews
This is a sports fiction novel that tells a story of Alfred Brooks, a seventeen-year-old high school drop-out, living in Harlem, finding his way in the world and in boxing. Alfred learns that getting to the top is not as important as how you get there, and that before you can be a champion, you have to be a contender with the will to get back on your feet after you have be ...more
Paperback, 190 pages
Published May 1st 1996 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published January 1st 1967)
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Isabel There is multiple versions of this book but if you have the app on a phone, kindle or any other device you can just scan the book and it will know…moreThere is multiple versions of this book but if you have the app on a phone, kindle or any other device you can just scan the book and it will know what cover it is and if its a paperback or hardback.(less)

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Narayan Neupane
Jan 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(by Narayan Neupane) Date(Jan-8-11)

I found this book on ms. nelson class. That was my reading ESL class. when I saw the cover of the book, I saw one guys with wearing a boxer gloves that make me to read. When I saw that I think that could be the best book. Also I though that I can get some lesson from that book so that is why I like this book and I think that this book will be also hard but when I read I am interested on this book. I am interested to know something and I start to read.

"The Cont
Pysen Kinchiro
Apr 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is about a teen named alfred Brooks. He dropout of high school and now is a poor teen living in the poor street. He takes boxing school once he heard about it. I like this book because I also like boxing.
Amy Rae
Jan 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Holy shit. This one disappeared on me even faster than The Outsiders did. It really does pair well, just as the roommate suggested. (Lee read them, one after another, back in middle school English.) And it was a fun one to pick up, because I had literally never heard of it before. I like to think that I'm pretty well-informed on the history of children's and teen lit, but this one had never before crossed my path.

More's the pity, too, because it is a fantastic little book. People who know me wel
Nov 05, 2008 rated it liked it
This is an amazing book; I was intrigued from the very beginning of this novel. I would recommend this book to anybody that loves fighting and underdog stories. I think the authors intention to writing this book was to encourage young men that are living in the hood that and to let them know they don’t have to be bad like everybody else around them and with hard work they can really do something with their life. My favorite character was definitely the main character, Alfred Brooks, I felt like ...more
Oct 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was a really great example of how hard work and dedication can really get you a long way. This book takes place in Harlem, New York in the middle of the twentieth century. The main character of this book is a seventeen year old boy who's an orphan living with his aunt and nieces. Alfred works at a store during the day, and trains to be a boxer in the morning. At one point in the story, he gets himself caught up with a gang that he's had some history with in the past. After these incid ...more
Anh Gordon
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It is in my 10th grade homeschooled daughter's curriculum and I read it because it seemed interesting. This is a very well written book--lots of great imagery and a nice mix of stream of consciousness in with traditional narrative. Character development is great with Lipsyte creating an imperfect protagonist who struggles with making the right choices and learns a lot about himself in the process. Alfred, the protagonist, is 17, but I still think this is a "coming of age" book ...more
Megan Dickinson
Nov 20, 2012 rated it did not like it
I don't really like this book; it doesn't make any sense. It's not my type of book. Can we read a different/better book next time? The ending didn't make sense, Alfred just walked away into the sunshine with a guy who ditched him for bullies for the whole entire book and gives up his boxing career for James. James doesn't do anything for Albert except to give him trouble. Then, Albert forgives James which I don't think he should have done; if I were him, I would have taken him to the police, I w ...more
Hayden W
Sep 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
when I got going I could not stop reading and there were some parts that was not as good but when I got to the end it was a cliff hanger.
Kevin Reddington
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
The story of The Contender by Robert Lipstye sets in Harlem, New York narrated by Alfred Brooks who is a high school drop out, that is leading nowhere in life. Through the beginning of the story you see Alfred struggling through life after dropping out. He works as a grocery store clerk, and with a friend who is like a brother to him struggling through a deep drug addiction. One day some street kids begin to chase down Alfred and try to jump him even know he had done nothing wrong. Soon later he ...more
Genaro Marcial
I thought this book was a bit boring because I had a feeling it was going to be a novel on a kid in a bad neighborhood and having some problems. But, it had a good plot and it was a very good and inspiring, and a excellent proof of commitment and hard work. In the book Alfred the main character, wants to learn how to box after getting jumped by his best friend (James) buddies, because James got caught breaking into a grocery store where Alfred works. He then gets introduced to boxing and starts ...more
Frankie Lopez
Sep 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books
The Contender by Robert Lipsyte, is one of my favorite books that I have read because it deals with real life situations, and a struggle to fight an addiction. If you like a book that is slow paced with great meaning and life lessens, then this is the book for you. This not only touches your heart but it relates to you in many ways.It consists of a young adult that gets wrapped up with the wrong people and getting evolved in bad situations. He struggles to fight the addiction of drugs and of pe ...more
Jackson M
Nov 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
The book the “The Contender” by Robert Lipstye was a decent book. I would recommend this book to my friend because it is a high paced book and its about sports. This book wasn’t amazing but it was pretty good that is why I rated it a four out of five. The Contender was about a highschool drop-out named Alfred Brooks. He lived in Harlem with his aunt and also he works part time at a grocery store. Alfred’s bestfriend got addicted to drugs and started to hang around with punks, therefore Alfred is ...more
Cade Naclerio
Sep 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you like to dig yourself into a thrilling and life learning novel, than this is for you. The Contender written by Robert Lipsyte, shows us through the main character how to live the right way and the choices the character makes. The story shows a 17-year-old who fights many problems in his life to do what he wants to do. Living with his uncle and aunt, after the death of his parents has it hard on him. Than later when one of his best friends is arrested for attempted robbery. Later, Alfred r ...more
Oct 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Contender is the story of Alfred Brooks, a 17-year-old African-American high school dropout who is torn between the street life of his Harlem neighborhood, and his dreams of becoming a champion boxer. He lives with his aunt pearl and her 3 daughters. Alfred goes through rigorous training as he struggles to improve himself and overcome his doubts of his ability. I believe that boxing is a way for him to prove to himself that he has the heart of a contender in the boxing ring and in life even ...more
Zach Longacre
This book is about Alfred Brooks. He is a high school drop-out who is working at a grocery store. His best friend James, who is battling drug addictions, tries to break into the grocery store after hours and gets put in jail. Alfred is not looking for a purpose in life, and decides to join Donatelli's Gym. He made this decision when he walked past it one night after thinking about his future. After meeting Mr. Donatelli, Alfred gets a strict work out plan and diet which he struggles through.

I li
As an adult who mainly reads books written for an older audience, I am conditioned to books with well-developed, 3-dimensional characters and multiple subplots. In contrast, this book is rather simplistic. The main character, Alfred Brooks, is mostly a 2-dimensional character who also happens to be dynamic. Characters who undergo changes in personality and beliefs tend to be more well-rounded and finding a flat, but dynamic character can be fairly rare. However, this is exactly what Lipsyte has ...more
Matt Smith
Nov 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
This summer I was told i had to read a book. this book was about a black boy, and the boy was going down the rong path. His friend was doing bad things and he got put in jail. So to prevent him to go to jail he started to box.

The summery of the book is that two boys were starting to get in trouble so one boy started to do good and he started to box but the other boy was still doing bad things so that kid went to jail. the boy that started to box was training all day every day but after a few wee
Bryan Cook
Oct 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I HAD to read a book this summer, I think this was the book to choose. My opinion for The Contender is that it is a great book. It kept me interested the entire time I was reading it. The main character, Alfred Brooks, is a high school dropout that wasnts to learn how to box. He ends up going to a gym where Mr. Donatelli and other boxers and trainers teach him how to box. His childhood friend, James, ends up geetting in with the wrong crowd and gets into drugs and trouble with the polic ...more
Seth Singer
Oct 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the novel The Contender, a boy named Alfred Brooks lives with his aunt, and drops out of high school so he can work full time at the grocery store where he works. Alfred's aunt, in the book called Aunt Pearl, takes care of Alfred after he lost both of his parents. Alfred's best friend, James, loses his relationship with Alfred after he is arrested and gets addicted to drugs. Mr. Donatelli is the owner of a gym that Alfred joins to box when he decides that he wants to find meaning in his life. ...more
Parker Boelling
Mar 17, 2014 rated it liked it
This book was about a kid named Alfred. He has no parents and is just trying to find his way in life. He hangs out with the bad crowed, but the streets are all he knows. Alfred starts to realize the streets are not a good place. He figures out that he needs to get away from the bad crowed and do something good with his life. He starts to box as a hobby. It turns into an all the time thing and it is all he does. Will boxing pay off for Alfred? Read the book and find out. I think this book is alri ...more
Jenny Brown
Aug 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 20xj-classics, teens
If you get Bob Lipsyte talking about how The Contender came to be, he will tell you that the seed was planted when he took a man named Cus D’Amato out to dinner, shortly before he covered a boxing match in 1964 in Miami. Lipsyte would later go on to be a sports columnist for the New York Times, but in 1964 he was a cub reporter sent to cover the fight between Sonny Lipton and a new kid whom everyone thought would get knocked out in the first round, Cassius Clay (later known as Muhammad Ali).

As soon as I started listening to this book, I'm hooked so when the reader said 'the end' just as the H started looking forward, I literally shouted "NO!" because I don't want it to end.
It's a story of a young man trying to find his way despite his hard beginning. His circumstance are very relateable and I root for him, got annoyed with him, then cheer for him some more.
I loved it and even recommend this for young readers.
May 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The Contender, By Robert Lipyte, is a book that takes place in Harlem, in the times of segregation. Alfred Brooks is a grocery worker, but is tired of that and wants to be a boxer. With proper training, he actually has some professional fights. If you like books with sports, hard times, and friend problems, this book is great as a good read
Sep 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The contender is about a teenage drop out, who was in a gang and gets out of it. He goes into boxing, and wants to be a Champaign. But what he doesn't know that it takes a lot of hard work to be a winner and reach to the top. He always wanted to give up, just quit all of what he's learn but always reminds himself about what he wants.
Laken Scott
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shelf-3b
I really enjoyed this book! I had to read it for school and I had never heard of it before and I was pleasantly surprised.

I got kind of bored and confused during his fights with the whole "left hook right hook" fighter jargon but I really enjoyed the story.

And it's clean! (minus a dude who uses/ is addicted to cocaine and a not so nice word in the beginning)
Nate Porteus
Oct 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great book. It's not too long and it reads pretty fast. It's almost a guarantee that you'll get sucked in after the first few minutes and won't want to put it back down. It teaches a great moral lesson set to a powerful story. This is worth reading for wrestlers or other athletes.
May 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Another inner-city-kid overcomes the odds story.

Gangs, shootings, drugs, etc. The protagonist fights (ha, pun intended) his way out with the help of caring mentors at a boxing gym.

Grant Wenger
Sep 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book I would recomend this book to people who like boxing or just any teenage boy.
Nicolas Gonzlaes
It was amazing, it made me feel bad for the people that lived in a bad place
Lazaro Ortega
Jan 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: every body who like boxing
Recommended to Lazaro by: Ms. Nelson
The protagonist, Alfred Brooks is hanging out with his best friend, James, and James's friends Major and Hollis. The three of them want to break into the Epsteins' grocery store where Alfred works. Although Alfred does not go with them, he forgets about the new alarm system that the Epsteins just installed. James gets caught by the police, and later that night, Major and Hollis beat Alfred up. A man from the neighborhood, Henry, takes Alfred home. Henry mentions that he has been working for Mr. ...more
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“It's the climbing that makes the man. Getting to the top is an extra reward. ” 24 likes
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