Carolyn Keene is the author of the ever-popular Nancy Drew books.
Gr 6-9-In this compelling, stand-alone companion to The Rock and The River (S & S, 2010), 14-year-old Maxie Brown is caught up in the 1968 turmoil of the civil rights and Vietnam War protests in Chicago during the Democratic National Convention. She desperately wants to prove herself worthy of becoming a Black Panther, like her older brother, Raheem. Her determination to belong gradually alienates her from her cautious childhood friends and motivates her to find the traitor who is alerting police about Black Panther operations. When she discovers who's behind the leaks, her decision changes her world forever. Maxie lives in the projects with Raheem and her single mother. The Black Panther Party helps her feel secure and empowered in a world in which poverty, violence, and injustice are rampant, and she wants the ultimate emblems of Black Panther membership: a jacket and a gun. This provocative portrayal of a teenager's quest for identity, belonging, and recognition transcends time and place. Readers will readily become engaged by Maxie's zeal, her efforts to understand the people around her, her desire for acceptance, and her conflicting emotions. A strong cast of characters, vivid re-creation of documented events, and insights into the Black Panther message and actions add authenticity to Maxie's powerful coming-of-age narrative.-Gerry Larson, formerly at Durham School of the Arts, NC (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.