Saturday, September 30, 2017

Patina by Jason Reynolds

Patty has a lot of things that keep her running.  She is struggling to adapt to her new fancy school where she feels out of place.  She is taking care of her younger sister.  She is coming to grips with the fact that they now live with her aunt and uncle since how mom can't take care of them after she lost her legs to diabetes.  And she's trying to handle her bad attitude on the track because if she doesn't, Coach will make sure he finds a way to help her run it out.  Patty is used to taking care of everything and relying only on herself.  But now she has to work on a group project at school and running a relay race at track.  Can she trust other people to do their part, or will it be up to her to make it all work out, as usual?

This sequel to Ghost picks up right at the end of the previous book.  Literally, right at that second.  But you don't have to have read Ghost to understand Patty's story at all because it is completely about her life.  As always, Reynolds' writing is lovely and understated.  So understated that I didn't come to a full appreciation of this book until I'd had some time to reflect on it and let it sink in.  Patty is so used to taking care of everything in her life, and we are seeing her life through her eyes, that I was slow on the uptake of realizing that the conflict in the book is her finding ways to let down her guard to those who want to help her.  Patty is such a winning character that I found myself feeling her anxiety as I was reading.  She will be so easy for my middle schoolers to relate to because so many of them are dealing with a lot of stuff themselves.  Another great book from Jason Reynolds!

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