The $66 Summer, about prejudice in the 1950s South, with an equally dramatic story set in 1964. The easy-going friendshi"/>

THE RETURN OF GABRIEL

John Armistead, Author, Fran Gregory, Illustrator . Milkweed $17.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-57131-637-0 ISBN 1-57131-638-8

Armistead follows his strong first novel, The $66 Summer, about prejudice in the 1950s South, with an equally dramatic story set in 1964. The easy-going friendship between Cooper, a white 13-year-old, and his African-American neighbor, Jubal, is suddenly threatened when liberal-minded college students arrive from California, determined to bring change to Cooper's segregated Mississippi town. His loyalties split between his own family and Jubal's, Cooper finds himself in a precarious position, unable to please anyone. His membership in a "colored" church riles the anger of the white community. By following his father to KKK meetings, he arouses suspicions and resentment among African-Americans he has known all his life. Cooper puts himself in danger in order to save friends who have abandoned him, and his actions pay off when he prevents a church from being bombed. Political messages at times overpower character development, but readers will remain riveted as the action rises to a fever pitch. The star role Cooper plays in disbanding his town's newly formed white supremacy clan is inspiring, however, students familiar with American history may find the resolution to be more idealistic than realistic. Ages 8-13. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 10/28/2002
Release date: 10/01/2002
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