Cover image for Warrior angel
Warrior angel
Lipsyte, Robert.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins, 2003.
Physical Description:
186 pages ; 22 cm
Native American boxer of the Moscondaga Nation, Sonny Bear must fight to retain his heavyweight championship title.
Reading Level:
640 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.5 4.0 67386.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.8 9 Quiz: 33231 Guided reading level: Z.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Sonny Bear, the heavyweight champ, is on a fast downhill slide, and there's no brake in sight. Nothing seems to matter anymore -- not the money, not the fame, and not even the title. Sonny needs something -- or someone -- to make him realize that he is still the champ.

Starkey has never met Sonny, but he knows that he can help him get back in the ring. But first Starkey needs to find Sonny before it's too late.

With Starkey's help, Sonny gets back on track -- but will his rise back to the top mean a knockout for Starkey?

Robert Lipsyte, recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in young adult fiction, returns to the characters from his award-winning novels The Contender, The Brave, and The Chief in this long-awaited powerful conclusion to the series.

Author Notes

Robert Lipsyte is a legendary sports reporter, award-winning young adult novelist and an outspoken critic of the sports world. Lipsyte has often expressed his controversial opinion that the nation's fixation on competitive athletics is detrimental. He feels that sports should be recreational, not an industry that offers the often false hope of stardom.

As a young reporter, Lipsyte covered boxing for The New York Times. He drew on this background for his first book, "The Contender" (1967), a highly acclaimed coming-of-age story in which an orphaned teenager matures through the training discipline of boxing. In 1971, Lipsyte left the Times to concentrate on writing books. His other sports books for young people include "Free To Be Muhammad Ali" (1978) and the "Superstar Lineup" series documenting the lives of famous sports heroes.

The author's other novels for adolescents include the semi-autobiographical "Fifties Trilogy: One Fat Summer" (1977), "Summer Rules" (1981) and "Summerboy" (1982). Lipsyte has also written for adults in such books as "SportsWorld: An American Dreamland" (1975) and for television, notably "Saturday Night With Howard Cosell". He received an Emmy Award for hosting the PBS show "The Eleventh Hour"" (1990).

Robert Michael Lipsyte was born January 16, 1938 in New York City and earned an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia in 1959. He has been a radio commentator, a television news correspondent, and a journalism teacher. He successfully fought cancer in the late 1970's.

Lipsyte's career has come full circle; he once again is writing a sports column for The New York Times and books for young adults. "The Chief" (1993) is the long-awaited sequel to "The Contender".

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 7^-12. Sonny Bear, still struggling with his ethnic identity, returns in the fourth book in the boxing saga that began with The Contender (1967). Half Moscandaga Indian and half white, Sonny continues to feel like an outsider in both worlds, and although he's now the heavyweight champion, he finds no comfort in his fame or fortune. Feeling burnt out and hopeless, he has no stomach to fight Jamaican boxer Navy Crockett to retain his title. But his outlook on life changes when he encounters Starkey, a suicidal young man who sends Sonny e-mail fan letters using the name Warrior Angel. Starkey imagines himself on a mission to protect and support Sonny. As the two grow closer, Sonny and Starkey end up saving each other from their self-destructive impulses. Lipsyte's combination of gritty emotional realism and vivid descriptions of boxing action makes this fast-paced story a gripping read. --Ed Sullivan

Publisher's Weekly Review

Popular series unfold in further installments. Robert Lipsyte's many fans will be eager for Warrior Angel, a taut sports adventure in the series begun with The Contender. In this outing, Sonny Bear defends the heavyweight boxing championship he won in The Chief. As usual with Lipsyte, the protagonist struggles at least as much with his psyche as he does in the ring; now his inner conflicts are complicated by his encounters with a mentally ill youth who claims to be on a mission from the creator-to save Sonny. The earlier paperbacks in the series are being repackaged simultaneously with high-gloss photographic covers, to tie in with the look of this new hardcover. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-Sonny Bear, the youngest fighter ever to win a heavyweight boxing crown, is in trouble. Despite barely winning his last bout, his promoter immediately announces that he will defend his title against a formidable opponent. Clearly, the champ is not physically or emotionally ready for the match. Sonny always seems to be running away, from the reservation and his Native American heritage, from the people who want to control his life, and from his true friends. Starkey, a self-described Warrior Angel, is convinced he is the only person who can help Sonny. Unfortunately, Starkey is in a group home for emotionally disturbed youth, and needs to find a way to get to "The Tomahawk Kid" before it's too late. This thought-provoking, suspenseful, psychological sports thriller makes readers feel as though they are inside the minds of the protagonists. However, some teens may be initially confused when the chapters switch from Sonny's viewpoint to Starkey's, and may have even more difficulty when Starkey begins hearing voices in his head. Many characters from The Contender (1967), The Brave (1993), and The Chief (1995, all HarperCollins) make appearances in this novel and readers who have read at least one of those books will have an easier time sorting out the supporting cast. Lipsyte effectively keeps the action flowing through Sonny's boxing sequences and Starkey's fights with his demons and struggle to complete his Mission in time. The author pulls no punches with the raw, real-life language. This book, along with the earlier titles, will be an easy sell to many teens, especially those enamored with the sports world.-Michael McCullough, Byron-Bergen Middle School, Bergen, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.