Acclaimed author Cynthia Voigt has written another classic in her series about the unforgettable Tillermans. Track star "Bullet" Tillerman has troubles at home with a domineering, abusive father, and a mother who has lost the will to stand up to her husband. After Mr. Tillerman drives Bullet's older brother and sister from the family farm, Bullet is not sure if he can cope with the demands of his father, and considers enlisting in the Vietnam War. Bullet is tough and rebellious, and determined to answer to no one. He doesn't run to win races, or beat others, he runs because his body is built to run, simply because he enjoys running. When a promising new African-American runner, Tamer Shipp, joins the team, Bullet's ugly racism rears its head, and he would rather be cut from the team than train with a runner who isn't white.
Bullet's story touches on a number of serious issues: racism, war, coming of age, friendship, principles, and family conflicts. Voigt handles each topic with a deft and thorough hand as she paints a realistic portrait of a boy who wants to live by his rules, but realizes that they are becoming too painful to accept. When Bullet finally accepts Tamer, readers will cheer Bullet on as much for his growth as for his athletic ability. Although Bullet reaches a tragic end when he is killed in the war, love is the true victor of this young man's fight.