The Cruisers by Walter Dean Myers. Grades 6-8. Scholastic Press, August 2010. Reviewed from ARC provided by publisher. 122 pages.
The Cruisers are four friends at the Da Vinci School, a school for gifted students in Harlem. None of them are living up to their potential and their principal gives them one last chance to prove themselves. The school is participating in a Civil War reenactment, dividing up the students between the Union and Confederate factions. The Cruisers are charged with negotiating peace between the two groups. But when words start to fly, things get way more complicated than any of them could have imagined and the entire school will get a lesson on what it means to be racist.
What I liked: Smart characters of color dealing with tough issues in a nonviolent way. The book's aimed at a middle-grade audience, unlike Mr. Myers's previous books that have been edgy YA. It's the first in a series and I think kids will dig it.
What I didn't like so much: I'm a character girl and I just never felt like I got to know the Cruisers that much and I didn't connect with the characters. We do get some personal background on some of them, particularly Zander who narrates the book. But it's the kind of book that just plunges you into the thick of things. Some people dig it. For me, it's not my thing - I like a little more background.
48 Hour Book Challenge Update
Time spent reading: 13.5 hours
Time spent blogging/networking: 3 hours
Books completed: 5
Pages read: 1181
I'm gonna tackle another nonfiction (a shortie) and maybe start another novel and see how far I get before I have to hit the sack. My eyes are gettin' kinda droopy. :) I haven't read ANY debuts yet during the challenge, so I'll try to hit a couple of those tonight and tomorrow.