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on May 4, 2012
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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on September 27, 2014
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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on May 15, 2012
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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on August 5, 2014
Social contract is about the values you have as a person, the way you live your life in society, knowing how you want to treat people & how you would expect to be treated. Also realizing that there are consequences for the choices you make in life. It's about how you view the world and those in it. Also, knowing that life is not always fair. Sometimes we do the right thing but things don't always turn out the way we expect them too I think it is good reading material for young & old alike.
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on May 10, 2015
Having read many of Mr. Myers's books, I have come to expect the unexpected. This particular book was among the most unexpected in that it dealt with a lot of philosophical issues as they relate to city life for teens. There were many times I just wished to meet Mr. Myers one more time to talk about the contents of the book. This was one of the few YA books that has made me think long and deeply about the content. He delves into the ideas of Hobbs, Thoreau, and Rosseau and their place in the modern world. Answers re not readily available, but the questions sure are. This book is designed to make the readers think about the world and their place in it. It would be a great book for discussion of characters and people as well as how we come to believe as we do.
If you get the chance to read the book, your experience will be heightened if you have the chance to talk about the book or at least its ideas with someone else.
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on November 18, 2015
Although the book does indeed shed light on an important concept - the social contract - it is far too predictable in its telling. It's shameful that you have to wait until literally the last two pages to get the resolve to the character's dilemma. From an adult standpoint I felt I had gotten suckered into the bait-and-switch. I wanted to buy what the author was selling but I didn't want to have to sit through the pitch.
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on July 27, 2014
Great story!!! I plan to use this in my classroom author study this year. I would definitely recommend this title.
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on October 3, 2012
blah blah overall it was a good, no great book. not much into sports but this book oozes sports and ALIENS it was so good
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