Forged by Fire is the second in a trilogy by Sharon Draper. The first was Tears of a Tiger, book #15, which I enjoyed so much I went out immediately and bought the other two.
I have to say, I was disappointed. This is difficult for me to say because all of the other 24 books I've read so far I totally dug and would recommend. I read Forged by Fire in an evening and there were several problems with it.
1. The book was more telling than showing. There were scenes, sure, but the book covers a teenager's life from age 3 to age 17 in about 150 pages. Whole years were summarized, which you would have to do, but I think it was unnecessary to begin at age 3. Begin at age 10 or somewhere around there.
2. Too much happened in those 150 pages...almost too much to be believable. I know that it's possible that everything in the book would happen to one character, but it's damn unlikely, and that unlikliness made me keep thinking "come on!" rather than feeling sympathy for Gerald, the main character.
Draper says that she wrote the two books subsequent to Tears of a Tiger because kids wanted to know what happened to the characters from that book. So, Forged by Fire focuses on Gerald, a minor character from the first book, and Darkness Before Dawn (the third book) focuses on Keisha, the girlfriend of a main character in Tears of a Tiger. I guess those characters weren't compelling enough to me to want to know about their lives...even though interesting things happened to them.
In short, I don't recommend reading this book. Tears of a Tiger was absolutely fantastic and should be read by all teenagers. Forged by Fire won a number of awards, but I don't see the beauty in it.