By Walter Dean Myers
Scholastic Press, $16.99, 133 pages

The Cruisers could be termed rebels, but that wouldn’t be quite right. They are not aggressive enough to earn that name. Crew leader Zander, along with Kambui, LaShonda, and Bobbi all have special skills and problems. They are assertive, creative spirits at the Da Vinci Academy, their Harlem school for the extra-bright, all eager to promote their alternative newsletter, eager to defend a classmate confronted with a serious challenge. Here, in the second of the Cruisers series, Sidney must be saved from serious trouble, though we’re never actually sure he’s illegally into prescription drugs. But better safe than sorry. He must be supported and protected as he competes in a major chess championship.

Walter Dean Myers, author of over a hundred books for children and young adults knows his readership, a specialized one often featuring short novels geared for kids who aren’t into long, hefty books. He has the language, the issues, and the spirit. Kids who do not share a disadvantaged urban lifestyle can still identify with problems that cross all economic and social strata of youth.

Jane Manaster