Bucking the Sarge
The Sarge, aka Luther's mother, has cheated the system in order to run a number of shady apartments and group homes. She wants Luther to take over the business. In fact, she put him in charge of a home when he was only thirteen. But Luther no longer wants anything to do with the Sarge's evil empire. He wants to win the science fair and leave town for good. His friend Sparky also plans to leave, but his wacky scheme involves Dontay Gaddy, the Sue-Em-All lawyer.
The author really captures Luther's thoughts and feelings, as well as those of the other characters. When Luther discovers that Sarge has bilked him too, his revenge is especially satisfying.