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All the Right Stuff
by Walter Dean Myers
PUBL. RECOMMENDED AGE: 13 and up
PUBLISHER: Amistad
YEAR PUBLISHED: 2012
NO. PAGES: 224
GENRE{S}: Realistic Fiction
MAIN CHARACTER GENDER: Male
ISBN: 006196087X
READ & REVIEWED BY: Shannon - StorySnoop


The Story
All the Right Stuff—Book Review

The summer after his father dies, Paul gets a job in a soup kitchen in Harlem. There he meets Elijah, a man who goes on and on about philosophy, but gets Paul thinking of things he's never really thought of before. Elijah believes in "the social contract" which states that if you do the right things in life, you can rise above your place in the world. Could such a thing be true? If so, what does that mean for Keisha, the teen mom with killer basketball skills that Paul is mentoring? And then there is Sly, a slick Harlem gangster, who feels the world owes him something, and that the path to bettering one's status is a less than moral road. Paul examines these theories and tries to figure out how he will go about taking charge of his life.
The Scoop
All the Right Stuff—Book Review
{spoiler alert}

From award-winning author Walter Dean Myers, All the Right Stuff is very well-written and thought-provoking. Much of the book is a philosophical discussion between Elijah and Paul about the world they live in and the social contract. Paul knows that he does not want to end up like his dad--in and out of jail with a drug habit--who is shot and killed at the beginning of the book. Paul is surrounded by all types of people, from his good mother and Elijah, to junkies, prostitutes, and criminals. The overall message of the book is that everyone is responsible for their own destiny, no matter how grim their circumstances are, by always doing what is morally correct, and never playing the victim. This goes against the criminal way of thinking--of taking the easy way out. Some teens may not appreciate that much of this book is a plot-driven philosophical debate, with little action. All the Right Stuff would be a good high school classroom read or a book club choice, as it is filled with much discussion-worthy material.
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