Rumble Fish (paperback) S.E. Hinton
Rusty-James is the toughest guy in the group of high-school kids who hang out and shoot pool down at Benny's, and he enjoys keeping up his reputation. What he wants most of all is to be just like his older brother, the Motorcycle Boy. He wants to stay calm and laughing when things get dangerous, to be the toughest street fighter and the most respected guy on their side of the river. Rusty-James isn't book-smart, and he knows it. He relies on his fists instead of his brains. Until now he's gotten along all right, because whenever he gets into trouble, the Motorcycle Boy bails him out. But Rusty-James' drive to be like his brother eats away at his world--until it all comes apart in an explosive chain of events. And this time the Motorcycle Boy isn't around to pick up the pieces.