Came across author Greg Neri at Boyrsread.org while researching a "Connecting Boys and Books" paper. Chess Rumble is a slim volume about Marcus, who is having a difficult time. His sister has died, his father has moved out, and his mother is stressed. Home life is difficult, and school is not any better. Marcus gets involved in fights. His principal introduces him to a chess playing mentor, but it isn't until he meets the man again in the park, in the company of other students, that the man and the lessons he offers click.
This is a great pick for reluctant readers. The cover will appeal, because inner city settings (like Bluford High) are popular, and the spare text does not look too hard for students struggling with reading. My only reservation is that the size of the book looks a bit like a picture book, and this does make a difference.