All the Right Stuff

FeaturedHot
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
3525 0
All the Right Stuff
Publisher
Genre(s)
Age Range
14+
Release Date
April 24, 2012
ISBN
978-0061960871
Buy This Book
      
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.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Thought Provoking
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Paul DuPree just wants to spend his summer working at his new job, saving a little bit of money, and getting by as best he can. Instead, his new boss challenges him on a daily basis to grapple with the idea of a social contract and with what it means to understand one's place in society and still get ahead in life.

To complicate matters, Sly, a notorious Harlem hoodlum-type character, has his own theories about the social contract, and they basically add up to this: the rich people on top conspire to keep the poor people on the bottom.

Paul, and his new friend Keisha, are caught somewhere in the middle of these two lines of thinking, and Paul has to grapple with this topic, and with the reality of his life in Harlem, before he can reach a conclusion that will give him a foundation on which to build his life.

I have mixed feelings about this book. One the one hand, Mr. Myers brilliantly unfolds the concept of the social contract. We start with theoretical examples and history, and the reader is able to distance himself from the concept. But as the book progresses, the examples hit closer to home until both Paul and the reader are forced to contend with some of the most difficult aspects of what it means to voluntarily give up some of our personal rights in order to benefit from and contribute to our society as a whole. Paul's journey, while difficult to really connect with at the beginning of the book, becomes easier to identify with as it becomes more personal. The final conclusion he reaches is one that will challenge readers to take a hard look at their lives, at personal responsibility, and at what it takes to pursue one's dreams even when it looks like those dreams are very far away.

On the other hand, this is a book with very little in the way of plot and true conflict. The conflict is internal, and the same themes of social contract are discussed at every opportunity. This is fine in conversations between Paul and his new boss because that's where the idea is first presented to us. But when Paul has a run-in with Sly, the hardcore Sly, without knowing about Paul's discussions with his boss Elijah, brings up the term "social contract" and proceeds to give Paul a firsthand example of his own view on the subject. I found that situation to stretch the bounds of believability. Most people never bring up the words "social contract" in casual conversation, and for two such different characters to both target Paul with this topic felt convenient for the author, but unbelievable in reality. Sly does provide a valuable counterpoint to Elijah's perspective, I just wish the author had found a more credible way to bring him into the equation.

I also struggled a bit with the fact that nothing much happened beyond countless conversations about the social contract. Until the last third of the book when the concept became truly personal for Paul, it was hard to maintain interest.

All of that said, I think if I'd gone into this book with the attitude that this is a story meant to provoke thoughtful discussion rather than to entertain, I would've been well served. This is a valuable book, and is definitely one I think should be taught in classrooms everywhere. Mr. Myers makes a difficult concept accessible to his readers, and he allows both sides of an argument (one for personal responsibility and one for conspiracy) to lie on the table without judgement so that the reader can work through the issue himself. This might not be the book that will keep you turning pages through the night, but it will be the book whose ideas will take root inside of you and continue to provoke thought long after you close the cover.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 4 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Rosenhart Book I 'The Sight'
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
"Be the Legend, Join the Quest" The Rosenhart...
Fabric of a Generation
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
For one teen, life's greatest adventure isn't time travel but...
Close Calls: How Eleven US Presidents Escaped from the Brink of Death
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Historians tell the stories of tragic and untimely presidential deaths,...
Imber (Book One of The Thanatos Trilogy)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The locks are failing. The...
Awesome Dog 5000 (#1)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Marty, Ralph, and Skyler might make the ultimate secret combo...
Althea Gibson: The Story of Tennis' Fleet-of-Foot Girl
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Althea Gibson was the quickest, tallest, most fearless athlete in...
The Big Game
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Danny Owens is dedicating his seventh-grade season to his Super...
Race to the Sun
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lately, seventh grader Nizhoni Begay has been able to detect...
Suffragette: The Battle for Equality
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Imprisonment, hunger strikes, suffrajitsu — the decades-long fight for women’s...
Catherine's War
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A magnificent narrative inspired by a true survival story that...
Dangerous Alliance
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lady Victoria Aston has everything she could want: an older...
Dugout: The Zombie Steals Home
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Twins Stacy and Gina Cavallaro are on rival little league...
The Fountains of Silence
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco...
Dinosnores (Boynton on Board)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
“Honk SHOOOOOO! Honk SHOOOOOO! . . .” ...
Good Day, Good Night
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Now in a sturdy board book format, perfect for little...
TBH, This May Be TMI (TBH, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Told entirely in text messages, the second book in this...

Latest Member Reviews

The Babysitters Coven
 
3.3
"What worked: This is a quirky, humorous at times paranormal where a babysitter's club is really a code name for..."
Dangerous Alliance
 
4.0
"Lady Victoria 'Vicky' Aston has a good life. Her older sister is married to a charming Viscount; her family estate..."
 
5.0
"In 1935, ten-year-old Alex Maki is disgusted when he finds out that his pen-pal Charlie is a girl. Still, they..."
Loki: Where Mischief Lies
 
3.0
"LOKI: WHERE MISCHIEF LIES tells a new story of teen Loki, before all the big battles and intergalactic feuds with..."
Jane Anonymous: A Novel
 
5.0
"Told from the perspective of a girl who was captured and escaped, JANE ANONYMOUS is a thriller of both physical..."
Jason & Kyra
 
N/A
"posso usare l'italiano or english"
Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1)
 
4.7
"In all seriousness, Fireborne by Rosaria Munda is the best. I have nothing to compare it to. It is unique,..."
Tweet Cute
 
4.3
"TWEET CUTE is a fun enemies-to-dating and anonymous-You've-Got-Mail style YA contemporary romance. The book follows the two protagonists in equal..."
Throw Like a Girl
 
4.3
"THROW LIKE A GIRL is a charming story about chasing your dreams, a little romance, and a passion for sports...."
The Boy Next Story
 
4.0
"'The Boy Next Story' by Tiffany Schmidt follows main character Aurora, who goes by Rory, as she tries to figure..."
 
4.0
"Veronica can see the ghost of her dead mother. She also suffers from debilitating migraines that hold her back from..."
Pax Novis (The Pax Archives, #1)
 
4.0
"PAX NOVIS is an engaging YA sci-fi novel that takes place in the future, when humans have colonized other planets...."
And I Darken
 
3.3
"To be honest, I went into this expecting vampires. I guess between the visual tone to the..."
Endling: The First
 
5.0
"Applegate delivers an action-packed middle-grade sequel in a uniquely otherworldly setting, with characters that are relatable, cute and fuzzy, along..."
The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising, #1)
 
5.0
"THE GUINEVERE DECEPTION is an incredible new YA fantasy that combines a dark mystery, magic, and romance/love into a gorgeous,..."
Refraction
 
4.3
"REFRACTION is a highly readable/devourable book that is certainly a page-turner. In the post-apocalyptic future, a small island appears to..."
Jason & Kyra
 
N/A
"hi :) bross :)"
Fan the Fame
 
4.7
"WHAT I LOVED: Excuse me, who gave Anna Priemaza permission to bug my house and use my brother and I..."
I'm Not Dying with You Tonight
 
3.7
"Los Angeles, Ferguson, and Baltimore. Three cities where years of racism, injustice, unchecked police brutality, and rampant anti-Black racism came..."
Serpent & Dove
 
4.0
"I’d been hearing about this book on Bookstagram, BookTube, and BookTwitter as an anticipated release for September 2019. And then..."