Zac's grandfather, who firmly believes that he is descended from Ghanaian kings, is brutally murdered and has historical diaries stolen from him. Zac is sent into foster care but is being followed. He and his friend Ashley decide to try to solve the mystery the grandfather believed in-- treasure hidden somewhere in Ghana. With the help of the juvenile justive system, Zac is sent to do community service work in Ghana.
I wanted to like this, and the first 200 pages were great. Suspense, action, a smart and likeable main character who struggles sucessfully against the odds. Since I've had students from Ghana, I thought it was great to see the cultural heritage discussed. However, when Zac lands at a leper colony in Ghana, the book lost momentum and the next 200 pages didn't appeal to me.
This would be quite interesting for high school, but is too much for the majority of my students. I will look for other works by this author, whose web site seems to be under construction.
Research on Ms. Mussi lead to me this interesting article on young adult lieterature for black teens. I particularly liked this comment: "Barney would like to see books featuring black teens that don't involve a serious crisis, but deal with normal teenage stuff." Indeed.