Edward Bloor’s Crusader is the kind of book I love: engaging plot; exquisitely drawn, realistic characters; and a thought-provoking story where both the characters and a patient reader grow and come to new realizations by the end of the book.
When we first meet Roberta Ritter, a 15-year old girl who works, for free, in her family’s virtual reality mall arcade, she’s not much more than a oddball doormat. She’s observant and thoughtful, but also very naive and young for her age. She tells everyone (and believes) that her mother died 7 years before of a heart attack and since then, Roberta really hasn’t grown up much. She has to fend for herself since her neglectful father spends all his time with a new girlfriend, and her circle of friends is made up of the few hangers-on at the family’s arcade and in other mall shops.
Roberta slowly wakes up to life around her as she’s drawn into mysteries surrounding her: hate crimes that are taking place at the run-down, suburban Florida mall where she works; shady dealings with a local businessman running for political office; and more personally, shocking information about her mother’s death. In sorting out reality from fantasy, denials, silences and fear, Roberta learns to stand up for herself, the truth, and what’s right. And by the end of this deep, complex and enjoyable book, she has become a crusader.
- Posted by Cori