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GLOVES OFF by Louisa Reid

A page-turning and immersive YA novel in verse, telling the story of Lily who is mercilessly bullied at school and who turns to boxing in an attempt to fight back; a story of hope and resilience breaking through even the most difficult situations.

Lily turns sixteen with two very different sides to her life: school, where she is badly bullied, and home with her mum and dad, warm and comforting but with its own difficulties.

After a particularly terrible bullying incident, Lily’s dad determines to give his daughter the tools to fight back.

Introducing her to boxing, he encourages Lily to find her own worth. It is both difficult and challenging but in confronting her own fears she finds a way through that illuminates her life and friendships.

Meeting Rose, and seeing that there is another world out there, enables her to live her own life fully and gives her the knowledge that she is both beautiful and worth it.

Title : Gloves Off
Author : Louisa Reid
Format : Paperback
Page Count :
Genre : YA Contemporary
Publisher : Guppy Books
Release Date : March 5, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★

Micky’s 4 star review

GLOVES OFF was a quick but satisfying read of a young person going through a transformation of identity, poor self image and sexual identity told in a backdrop of hideous bullying. The whold book is told in prose and I loved that aspect. I slipped into the style of prose immediately and I found the words powerful.

butterfly bright,
dragonfly gold,
(their teeth as sharp as fangs
their nails like claws.)

Lily was sixteen, living in a household where food and weight were issues and that seemed to be taking a toll on how she was perceived and treated at school. She had no real friends and she was utterly isolated in her misery. As events escalated, Lily’s father called time on what was happening and motivated Lily to fight back in both a psychological and literal sense; she started boxing training.

The story was engaging, the characters were very much so. The story was told mainly from Lily’s POV but there was the occasional Lily’s mother POV. Lily had great character and identity growth. The sexual identity issues were in the background but they were handled well. It was good to see Lily find some friends, a sense of community and something more.

i am going to be the girl
who rises up
out of the mud
out of the gutter
out of silence
out of a void that has been carved for me

This is not your average story, it is special, especially considering how well the prose was written.

Thank you to Guppy Publishing and Darkroom Tours for the review copy.

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