Book Review: All the Right Stuff by Walter Dean Myers

All the Right Stuff
Author: Walter Dean Myers
Reading Level: YA
Genre: Contemporary
Released: April 24th 2012
Review Source: HarperCollins Children's Books
Available: Amazon

Summary: (from goodreads) The summer after his absentee father is killed in a random shooting, Paul volunteers at a Harlem soup kitchen where he listens to lessons about "the social contract" from an elderly African American man, and mentors a seventeen-year-old unwed mother who wants to make it to college on a basketball scholarship.

Walter Dean Myers is a renowned young adult author, who is known for his emotional and powerful novels that truly showcase the inner turmoil of a character. With books like Monster and Falling Angels, Myers really showed his writing power through his expression of words through the pages of many of his other books. With this in mind, I am truly a little surprised with this new book, All The Right Stuff. A very thought provoking, intellectual piece of writing, however it exhibited very little in the area of plot, which isn’t something that is true in his books that I’ve read.

In All the Right Stuff, a young man named Paul begins with a social contract from the people around him. A major part of the this novel, was the theory of the social contract, a longtime debate on a person’s natural and legal rights. The social contract debate has been going on for a long time and it’s Paul’s turn to try and decipher the true meaning.

To be honest three fourth’s of the book is the overall debate, over the social contract, leaving very little room the development of the plot. While his writing style and flow of the book went along nicely, I just feel like the storyline really didn’t grow into something bigger. With most of the characters being dry and static, I found it very hard to connect with the book and its characters. From a learning stand point, of trying to learn something about the social contract, I would say that the book did a very good job. On an entertaining factor, however, I would say that the book didn’t really make me crave reading it, like most of his novels do.

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