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All the Right Stuff Hardcover – April 24, 2012

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All the Right Stuff + Bad Boy: A Memoir + Monster (Coretta Scott King Honor Book)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Amistad; First Edition edition (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006196087X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061960871
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,606,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Myers has cooked up a provocative novel that simmers long after its last pages.” (Chicago Sun-Times)

“[E]ngrossing and fast-paced… a must-read novel.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“[R]ewarding. A good fit for school libraries in which the social contract is taught or emphasized.” (School Library Journal)

“[B]egins with a bang.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))

From the Back Cover

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.

More About the Author

Walter Dean Myers is a New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed author who has garnered much respect and admiration for his fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for young people. Winner of the first Michael L. Printz Award, he is considered one of the preeminent writers for children. He lives in Jersey City, New Jersey, with his family.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Yara Santos on May 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
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. - Joshua
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Emily D. on September 27, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I loved Walter Dean Myers, but this book made me wonder if he was losing his creative edge towards the end of his life. Myers is renowned for creating characters and plots that adolescents will find interesting and relevant, but the majority of this story is neither.

As another reviewer mentioned, the majority of this book takes the form of debate between the main character, Paul, his mentor Elijah, and Elijah's all-too-obvious foil, Sly. Even as an adult reader, I found these debates a bit tedious--I can't imagine how bored my high school students would be. Their insistence on debating the social contract makes all of the characters simply stand-ins for particular ideas with little personality of their own.

The plot, such as it is, is almost entirely in the service of the sociopolitical commentary; plot twists are mandated by what idea of social contract Elijah is currently discussing. The manslaughter that opens the novel and the inexplicable appearance of an Uzi at the plot's climax are thrown in to add a bit of action, but are so disconnected from the plot as a whole that they do little to hold the reader's attention.

Finally, I think Myers does his community a disservice by, in the end, insisting that the social contract is the answer to all Harlem's woes...He acknowledges that life is harder for some folks than others, but shrugs off the idea that something in society might be deliberately unjust or that systemic racism still exists. I like his message education is essential for helping people get out of the situations that they're in, but I disagree that simply learning to play by the rules is enough to lift his community out of the situation that White America historically placed it in.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Weaver Lee on May 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is the question addressed by this engaging and important new book from Myers. The social contract is a concept that runs through the heart of the book and it's the discussions and conclusions that the main characters draws from his Socratic inquiries that will keep you thinking about the book long after you've finished. We often lament what we see as a kind of triviality in the entertainment and thinking of young people. All The Right Stuff is an excellent way to engage kids in the questions that matter now more than ever. Though some of the conclusions in the book will seem harsh, one of the solutions-active citizenship-is an idea whose time has definitely come.
Highly Recommended for ages 11 and up.
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