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RUSH HOUR: BAD BOYS by Michael Cart


A Journal of Contemporary Voices, Volume Two

edited by Michael Cart

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 2004
ISBN: 0-385-73033-0
Publisher: Delacorte

City boys, country boys, historic rebels, thieves, and murderers are all given a voice in Cart’s patch-worked second Rush Hour volume. Enlisting storytelling vets like E.R. Frank, Dave Lubar, and Jacqueline Woodson, Cart pieces together a hodgepodge of stories, snippets, essays, and art, based around varying perceptions of the teenaged bad boy. Country bumpkins converge with a streetwise, abandoned NYC teen in Frank’s understated story of distrustful culture clash. Michael Simmons’s preview of a crime-obsessed older brother seems disappointingly clipped too short, but Woodson’s unforgettably twisted finale will leave readers breathless. Despite its physical location near the end of the collection, Robert Lipsyte’s educator-friendly/kid-deadly centerpiece, “Surviving Jock Culture,” expounds upon the progressive nature of bad-boy competition and the multi-faceted animosity that often exists between jocks and their prey. Most haunting of all is Edward Averett’s “Joaquin Years,” featuring a misguidedly disturbed teenaged boy who mistakenly falls in league with a deadly role model. All in all, the illustrations and poetry seem lost in what appears to be more short-story collection than actual journal. And, like most short-story collections, the results are uneven. (Anthology. YA)