Monday, June 18, 2012

Librarian's Pick of the Week: All the Right Stuff

Title: All the Right Stuff 
Author: Walter Dean Myers
Genre: African-American, Drama
Published: 2012
Age: 13+

Synopsis: A provocative new novel from the national ambassador for young people's literature and the New York Times bestselling author of Monster Who's on top of the social food chain? How do you get ahead? Who makes the rules? Who needs to follow them? Paul DuPree is working at a soup kitchen in Harlem the summer his father dies, just trying to get by. But Elijah, the soup man, won't stop talking about the social contract and asking Paul questions about heavy-duty things. Paul has never thought about this stuff. He'd rather hang out with Keisha, an unwed teen mom whose basketball skills rival his own. Then Sly, a notorious Harlem big shot, shows up. Paul is both intrigued and intimidated by Sly and his conspiracy theories, and for once he starts contemplating how you really get ahead in life. As the talk of what-ifs turns into reality, Paul realizes his summer is about more than getting by-it's about taking charge of your life.

Review: When his troubled father is killed in a street shooting, 16-year-old Paul determines to become the hero his father never was. The means to this end present themselves when he lands a community-service job working at a soup kitchen. The elderly proprietor, Elijah I. Jones, introduces the boy to the concept of the social contract. Soon Paul's job is far more than just serving soup to seniors; it is a de facto seminar on citizen-government interaction, social justice, and civil liberties. Set in Myers' signature Harlem neighborhood, this novel of ideas is a challenging but rewarding read that invites readers to learn, along with Paul, a complex philosophical and practical concept. The story is made more accessible by Myers' ability to create appealing characters whose presence dramatizes his otherwise expository material, while a subplot involving a 17-year-old single mother further humanizes the story. While the book will find an extracurricular readership, it will also prove invaluable for classroom use. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A robust marketing campaign will ensure that this new book from best-selling and critically acclaimed Myers gets significant attention from educators and librarians. -Booklist

If you're intrigued, don't forget to check our library's catalog for this book!


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