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Ali Cross: 1

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My stepmom, Bree, grabbed my hand. I took my great-grandma, Nana Mama, by the arm on the other side. I wanted these people out of my face. I wished I had some kind of flashbang on me, the kind they use for police raids. Not to hurt anyone, but just loud and disorienting enough to make these reporters wish they’d all stayed home on Christmas Eve.

ALI CROSS | Kirkus Reviews ALI CROSS | Kirkus Reviews

I hadn’t known him that long—only since the beginning of middle school. But we got to be friends right away. I saw him in the cafeteria one day, eating by himself and working on a pretty cool drawing. I mentioned something about it, and that’s when I found out he was a total Outpost fan, like me. Ever since then, we’d been gaming together, he’d come over to watch movies, and that kind of thing. But he never talked about himself much, and I never really asked. Now I was thinking maybe I should have. It’s supposed to be a big deal to get chosen for the children’s prayer at my church, especially on Christmas Eve. I guess you could say it was an honor. But my mind was like mush that night, and I was wishing they’d tapped someone else. Let’s try that again,” Father Bernadin said in his Haitian accent, and with a kind of impatient smile aimed my way. “The annual Christmas Eve children’s prayer will be led by our own Ali Cross tonight. Ali, would you like to come up?”

In the meantime, I couldn’t stop thinking about Gabe. Couldn’t stop wondering what had happened to him. Couldn’t stop a whole lot of really bad thoughts from passing through my brain, like one scary movie after another. I didn’t know if this was going to help, but I figured it couldn’t hurt. How often do you get the chance to send four hundred prayers someone’s way, all at once? My voice was kind of shaky, but I just kept talking.

Ali Cross (Ali Cross, 1): Patterson, James: 9780275958794 Ali Cross (Ali Cross, 1): Patterson, James: 9780275958794

I thought Father Bernadin might cut me off right there, but he didn’t. Everyone just waited, so I kept going.Gabe said, "I'm glad you didn't give up on me." I was standing there looking at Gabe grateful he was fine. This was a good mystery and with Big Alex and Little Ali and the other family members it made for quite a delightful story. Recommend. With a detective for a dad and knowing other officers, Ali struggles with all of the anger against the police force, but he knows the community is right too, in many situations. It had been three days since my friend disappeared and I was starting to think the worst might have happened.

Ali Cross (Ali Cross, 1) by James Patterson | Goodreads

Nana Mama, Ali’s great-grandmother, is an admirable character living with Ali, his sister, his dad, and his stepmother. She steps up to calm a crowd of people who’ve collected outside the house to protest the police. She projects her voice with authority and manages to allay some of the tension. Ali has a habit of sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night and he feels like Nana Mama always knows what he’s doing. She never scolds him but offers thoughts to consider. She understands Ali’s behavior and worries and she does her best to lend support. She even lets him start dinner one evening even though it’s clear it will be a disaster. This book differs from the previous two books and the title seems misleading. Ali isn’t actually solving any crimes as he’s caught up in tensions between the police and the public. The story itself is thought-provoking but it’s not what readers might expect when they start the book.

Did we miss something on diversity?

In fact, if anyone had asked me, I would have told them there was only one thing I wanted for Christmas that year. I wanted Gabe Qualls to be found.

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