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Children's LiteratureOne of the books in Shusterman's "Dark Fusion" series, this one takes the fairy tale of "Red Riding Hood" and gives it a unique twist. In this case, the Red Rider is a young man of mixed cultural heritage whose grandparents used to be werewolf hunters. Red finds himself pulled into the crossfire when the current group of wolves, under the leadership of Cedric Soames, attacks his grandmother and steals his red Mustang. Determined to bring down Cedric and his band, Red infiltrates the group and proves himself to be a potential candidate for a werewolf. But as he gets to know the members of the gang, he finds his loyalties shifting, and he begins to understand how difficult it is to turn one's back on power and a charismatic leader, even when one knows the truth of the situation. I did appreciate the "grayness" of many of the main character's personalities and how many of the characters are doing what they consider the best for their own families and friends. Nevertheless, by the end of the book, the "evil" characters have taken their place in the darkness and force others to make their decisions one way or the other. The book has a satisfying ending that will certainly surprise. Younger teens will enjoy this book. 2005, Dutton Children's Books/Penguin, Ages 12 to 15.
—Jean Boreen, Ph.D.