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3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  766 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
There's a dark secret in fifteen-year-old Roberta Ritter's past. Her mother was murdered years ago by an unknown killer. Now, Roberta must separate the real from the virtual as she begins her own crusade to discover the cause of a new rash of hate crimes and the truth behind her mother's death.
Paperback, 591 pages
Published June 1st 2001 by Scholastic Paperbacks (first published October 15th 1999)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,226)
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Mar 11, 2010 Josiah rated it really liked it
Crusader is not your typical young-adult book. For one thing, it's five hundred ninety-one pages long, and with the intense, dynamic writing style of the ingeniously endowed Edward Bloor, that length makes for a roller coaster ride of impossibly unpredictable twists and turns, red herrings and shocking secrets revealed at each step along the way, going and going until one might think that it just couldn't go anymore. Then you realize that you're only a quarter of the way through the book.

Lana Tessler
Aug 13, 2011 Lana Tessler rated it really liked it
Shelves: real-life-drama
In Mrs. Tessler's Class: Culture Shock

An odd book and I really couldn't decide if it horrified me or engrossed me, which is I suppose why I like it. This was a very deep read for a YA book and one I'd recommend more for teens or adults rather than middle-school level, though some emotionally mature readers may enjoy it as well. It follows the exploits of Roberta, trapped in a neglectful but not abusive family, and working at the family arcade in a mall while she tries to puzzle out a series of h
Carol Nicolas
Roberta Ritter’s world centers around her journalism class at school and her work in her uncle’s arcade, located in a Florida mall. She plods through life never feeling anything, just trying to get by. Her one dream is to become a journalist. She thinks that her life is normal.
But gradually Roberta becomes aware just how abnormal things really are. Although she is opposed to violence, she numbly accepts the arcade, which features violent simulation games like Crusader. She was told that her moth
I liked this book a lot. The main character is a budding high school journalist who mother died when she was very young- of a hear attack, her dad says Mom's heart just stopped beating.
She is now and has raised herself, her dad is mercurial he doesn't really check in with her. The girl is used to this, and doesn't really care she just deals. The people around her who care are noticing though.
Her dad, with her help has run a video arcade all her life. Her uncle and his family are in transition-
Jenn Estepp
Sep 08, 2011 Jenn Estepp rated it it was ok
Shelves: teenage-kicks
Honestly, y'all, I am just glad to finally be finished with this book, because I feel like I've been reading it for-freaking-ever. It's long, just a smidge under six hundred pages, and I was only reading it at work, on lunch hours and breaks. Plus, I went on vacation in the middle of it. So, it really has been a long time. But! It's not just me. The book contributes to that too. Because it's a weird little (well, not little) thing and it made me contemplate stopping and tossing it away on more t ...more
Dec 15, 2009 Lana rated it it was amazing
An odd book and I really couldn't decide if it horrified me or engrossed me, which is I suppose why I like it. This was a very deep read for a YA book and one I'd recommend more for teens or adults rather than middle-school level, though some emotionally mature readers may enjoy it as well. It follows the exploits of Roberta, trapped in a neglectful but not abusive family, and working at the family arcade in a mall while she tries to puzzle out a series of hate crimes, prejudices, and the myster ...more
Apr 10, 2012 Jacki rated it really liked it
I don't know how Edward Bloor does it. He writes these books that may not be the most exciting, action packed pieces ever, but still I can't stop reading. He makes me love the characters too damn much. Every one of them was unique, important, and a picture of realism. They grabbed my attention, won my affection, and then played out their part of the story in an emotion-invoking way. He's a powerful writer.

This book was particularly pointed--covering a variety of important social topics from clas
Sep 11, 2009 Kate rated it liked it
I wasn't all that impressed, to be honest. I picked it up because I remembered really liking Tangerine when I read it in high school. This one was not as good. Bloor doesn't seem to know what he's writing about-- is it about muckracking and murder mysteries, or is it about the evils of prejudice? The mystery parts are by far the best, though even they're just okay. The passages dealing with racism are didactic and repetitive, and seem to be aimed at much younger kids than the apparent target aud ...more
Nov 08, 2011 Robertp rated it it was ok
The book Crusader by Edward Bloor was exciting, but it was ultimately unsatisfying because it dragged on at times. I would not recommend this book. One reason that it was exciting was because it said, “Then Kristen’s right arm shot up like a rocket.” (107) This scene was exciting because it was a fight. A reason why I didn’t enjoy the book is because the author wrote, “So don’t go calling me Hitler. So don’t go calling people fat Arabs.” (123) This shows that the book is extremely racist. Anoth ...more
Jul 28, 2014 Chaz rated it it was amazing
This book literally saved my life in high school. It will always hold a special place in my heart. I loved this book so much I ended up "stealing" it from the school library out of a fear I would never find it again ( I left enough money on the library desk to buy 3 more books to replace the one I took). I am a very paranoid goody goody so this was a huge deal haha. Anyways on to the review. Yes its a drawn out read with some unpleasant and annoying characters. But it truly captures the essence ...more
Really good. I did not expect much (the summary for this is just awful) but it was so worth it. Characters that are just so full of life, none of them one dimensional at all. Every single one has some element that you love and hate. I love any story where someone stands up to a corrupt authority for justice, but sometimes it's a little unrealistic how everything is just fixed after some crazy scheme.This one actually seemed plausible. Keep in mind there is a lot of death in this book, yet still ...more
Oct 19, 2008 Ryan rated it really liked it
This was a re-read, but its a book worthy or re-reading periodically. Bloor's stories are dark, but ultimately they are about forgiveness and resilience. They are also often about fathers and children, which require both forgiveness and resilience.

Roberta is the sort of child who falls through the cracks - she is a good student, but perhaps not brilliant though she has discovered journalism as a passion. Had she not had a passion, there would have been no real point to the book, I suspect. Bloor
Aug 28, 2010 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book with a lot of expectations, and I'm sorry to say those expectations were barely met.

Let's start off by talking about Tangerine by Edward Bloor, a book I read and loved. I could barely put this book down, it was mysterious, exciting, and even a bit frightening. It was well written and well developed; looking back on the book, the dark twist completed the puzzle Bloor created for his readers.

So when I found Crusader, I was very excited to start reading it. I noticed it was lo
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Marta Morrison for

A Crusader is someone who supports a certain cause and a Crusader is also a knight in the 11th-13th centuries who fought to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims. Both of these definitions come into play in this long but wonderful mystery.

Roberta Ritter is a shy and lonely girl. She is plain but only because she doesn't really care how she looks. Roberta's father owns, along with his brother, a virtual reality arcade in a failing mall in Florida.
Nov 09, 2013 Cat. rated it really liked it
This is a book aimed squarely at the 15-year-old market, primarily girls, but hoping to draw in the boys with the arcade-game aspect. Not sure how well that would work, though.

It's quite interesting that this book came out two years before September 11. There is a lot of discussion about prejudice, including against Arab-Americans, which plays rather well (to me) and makes it even more current than it might have been when it was originally released.

Roberta works in her family's virtual reality (
Jul 19, 2008 Ashley rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-as-child
I loved this book as a kid, though I remember picking it up hoping for something closer to Vivian Vande Velde's "Heir Apparent," with descriptions of virtual fantasy experiences. However, this book is anything but. Though mostly set in a virtual arcade, the main character Roberta has never played a game. Instead, she helps out her family in running the arcade, while going to school and learning to be a journalist. Unfortunately, the virtual games are racist in nature - the customers can choose t ...more
July 4, 2013
I've been looking forward to rereading this book ever since I first read it four years ago. I liked it just as much the second time as the first and I wish it were better known and more widely read. It's kind of like . . . The Westing Game meets Sammy Keyes meets Death of a Salesman. If you can imagine that.

July 29, 2009
I was actually looking for Edward Bloor's book "Tangerine," which has won lots of awards. But "Tangerine" was checked out, so instead I picked up "Crusader". The cove
Jun 17, 2011 Ted rated it it was ok
I'm currently half way though this book I like it but the characters I just don't like. The only real character is Roberta (which is probably the point). Her dad neglects her to the point where you have to ask why does he even come home?, her cousin's alright, her cousin's friend is so vapid and naive that you just want to slap her. Roberta herself seems very sheltered and isolated (most probably) to the point of cluelessness on such simple things as swirlies.

As for the arcade that she works at
Holly Thompson
Nov 09, 2007 Holly Thompson rated it it was amazing
So far I've read to page 356. I havent read it in a while but what I've read so far is pretty good. I just havent had time to sit down and read. Anyway, "Roberta Ritter looks plain and shy, but her life isn't as boring as people think. There's a dark and deadly secret in Roberta's past: her mother was murdered years ago, and the identity of the killer is still unknown. Roberta spends her afternoons working in a failing arcade in a failing mall, where the only action comes from a violent game cal ...more
May 04, 2011 Katie rated it liked it
I liked the story behind Crusader, but I think there was just too much filler; I was really only interested in about two-thirds of the book. The most interesting part was when the main character, Roberta, was beginning to put the pieces of her mother's murder together, but unfortunately this only came into play during the last few chapters. As a side note, I found it very hard to believe that a 16-year-old solved a murder that the police couldn't, especially since the murderer had unique feature ...more
In an exaggerated version of reality we discuss race, violence, video games, journalism, and educational standards. With a clever, curious female heroin using her wits to track down the her mother's murderer, this book ought to be right up my alley. However, the aggrandized nature of the characters' interactions make this novel most suitable for people who found Crash to be a realistic representation of human nature.

This book full of value judgments, coincidences, prayer, and hyperbole even tho
Annie Oosterwyk
Dec 29, 2009 Annie Oosterwyk rated it it was amazing
Shelves: coming-of-age
I have not read Tangerine, but I certainly will after this. Multiple themes are handled deftly and maintain the reader's interest throughout the story. The characters have dimension and the plot lines are seamless. Roberta Ritter wants to become a newspaper reporter someday, but for now she works for free at her family's arcade. Roberta's mother has been dead for years and her father spends all his time with his girlfriend, leaving Roberta to fend for herself. The community at the mall where she ...more
Aug 12, 2011 Amber rated it it was ok
There was a lot going on in this book and I think that was the problem. Throughout the book I was trying to figure out was Bloor was attempting and ultimately I'm not sure. Bloor deals with journalism and media, education, video games and virtual reality, the definition of family, racism and hate crimes, politics, problems between social classes . . . And most of it is pretty heavy handed. That said it's not a bad book, but it's not on the same level as Tangerine Tangerine or Story TimeStory Tim ...more
Anastasiya Fedkina
Real! Real! Real!

Deep story. Real characters. Good writing.
It's my second book by Edward Bloor - I'm becoming a big fan)
Looking forward to the next one)
Madyson Carter
This is not a disgusting book as some would say. It shows the struggles of today and that not every book has to be a book that has everyone happy. In my opinion this is the best book ever!
Asghar Abbas
Mar 22, 2015 Asghar Abbas rated it really liked it
Finally a mature young adult book that does not insult its audience.
Rich storytelling.
Book being a fun ride was just a bonus; a cherry on top.
Sandra Strange
Roberta Ritter’s mother was murdered. She works in her father’s arcade in a failing mall in a deteriorating section of town. Hate crimes against an Arabic shop owner in the mall escalate and involve people Roberta knows, and threaten her own picture of the world. This novel includes actions and language that may offend teen readers. More objectionable, in the interest of political correctness, the Arab owner gives a version of history that isn’t entirely accurate, twisting events and presenting ...more
Ashlee Reynolds
Oct 23, 2007 Ashlee Reynolds rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Young adults
In this book, a young girl works in the family business running an arcade. The author really connects the main character to young kids in the real world, by telling about her friends at the mall and her family life. The author then brings in the world of fantasy, with the arcade game "Crusader."
The young girl, Roberta, becomes facinated with this game as do the many customers they get. The author sucks you into the book and you can feel as if you are in the game when it is played, in the mall
Adrian G.
May 09, 2015 Adrian G. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Powerful, but not snobbish or pretentious. Earthy, very real, and not much in the way of preachy. Twisty too!
Sara Heunisch
Jan 11, 2014 Sara Heunisch rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
This book dragged on forever for me. The only reason I finished it was because I have a compulsive need to finish a book when I've started it, especially if I want to start reading another. The synopsis really intrigued me, but the story just wasn't intriguing to me once I got started with it, which was a shame, since I had rather high expectations.
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Goodreads Librari...: Crusader Page Numbers - 0439221609 2 25 Jan 30, 2012 07:17PM  
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Edward (William) Bloor

Personal Information: Born October 12, 1950, in Trenton, NJ; son of Edward William and Mary (Cowley) Bloor; married Pamela Dixon (a teacher), August 4, 1984. Father to a daughter and a son. Education: Fordham University, B.A., 1973.

Career: Novelist and editor. English teacher in Florida public high schools, 1983-86; Harcourt Brace School Publishers, Orlando, FL, senior editor
More about Edward Bloor...

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“A person is not really gone until everyone who knew them is gone.” 6 likes
“Life is hard when you have no one to stick up for you. People push you around, purely because there's no one to stop them from pushing you around.” 6 likes
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