Sunday, November 20, 2011

BLOOD IS THICKER by Paul Langan & D.M. Blackwell

Learning that his father has cancer is bad enough, but when Hakeem is told that the family is leaving California and moving to Detroit, he can't believe it. The financial hardship of dealing with cancer treatments means that Hakeem's parents can't afford their home anymore so the decision has been made to relocate to Michigan where they can live with Hakeem's uncle until they can get back on their feet.

Their possessions are packed and Hakeem, his parents, and his twin sisters are on the plane headed for Detroit almost before Hakeem has a chance to say goodbye to his friends at Bluford High. Even though he knows his father can't help what happened, Hakeem is beyond angry about the changes he faces. He'll be starting at a strange, new school in the fall, and in the meantime, he'll be sharing a room with a cousin he hasn't seen since grade school.

Although, his aunt and uncle make them feel welcome, Savon is moody and barely civil. It is obvious that his cousin is not happy with the arrangements and doesn't waste any time trying to renew their childhood friendship. Hakeem had hoped to get to know him again and maybe meet some of his cousin's friends, but instead he finds himself being drafted to work in his uncle's furniture store. Afraid to disappoint his own father, Hakeem goes to work every day and does whatever his uncle asks of him. At night he watches as his cousin sneaks out after dark, probably up to no good.

Added pressure is heaped on Hakeem when his uncle asks him to talk with Savon and act as a role-model in an effort to straighten him out. As information of robberies in the neighbor around the furniture store surfaces, Hakeem is increasingly concerned that his cousin might have something to do with the crimes. How can he be expected to keep the peace between his uncle and cousin and also deal with his own father's illness?

BLOOD IS THICKER is another book from the Bluford High series. The focus is on changing family structures and the conflicting dreams and goals of fathers and sons. Once again the fast pace and less than 200 page length will attract many teen readers who might not otherwise be readers.

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