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Smart, incisive, brimming with the breath of human experience and written with engaging age-appropriate verve, this clever concept (“a tale told in ten blocks”) is perfectly executed. For the chorus of kids whose lives play out on these impeccably-written pages, the walk home from school represents a rare time of freedom; a period of limbo between being under the watchful eyes of teachers and parents. Unsupervised, the kids reveal their true selves, most of them dealing with hidden heartache and anxieties alongside goofing around, self-reflecting and navigating their way through Middle School. As always with Jason Reynolds, the characterisation is ingeniously vivid, with deep insights expressed through, for example, the different ways kids open their lockers. Many of the stories are intensely poignant, such as that of the Low Cuts crew whose bad behaviour is fuelled by a desperate love for their sick parents. The moment it turns out that Bit the hustler is a “son who was scared. A son who loved his mum” is shatteringly powerful. There’s much humour too, such as the laugh-out-loud scene in which smelly Gregory is slathered in VaporRub by friends seeking to beautify him before he visits a girl he’s keen on. Bittersweet, hard-hitting and powerfully perceptive, these pitch-perfect reader-centric stories shine a light on oft-overlooked lives and ring with empathy and authenticity.
Jason Reynolds is the master of giving voice to children and teenagers who exist - and often struggle - on the margins of society. Against tough competition, this exceptional novel might be his finest yet. Matt has recently lost his beloved mom and feels excruciatingly lonely in his grief. By page two, when Matt comes home to a house that was “totally silent. And it had no smell,” the author encapsulates the raw invisibility of grief with visceral power. Haunted by how his mom made him feel “like the luckiest kid in the world...like I was somebody important”, and needing something to occupy his mind (and some cash), Matt takes a job helping family friend and funeral director Mr Ray, and unexpectedly finds that attending funerals and witnessing the grief of others makes him feel less alone. With his dad otherwise disposed after seeking solace in whiskey, Mr Ray is heart-meltingly supportive, reaching out to Matt while his “old man is getting himself together”. It’s at one of his work funerals that Matt begins to form a beautiful bond with Lovey, a young woman who’s experienced more pain and loss than even Matt can imagine. As Lovey opens Matt’s world and heart, they discover that they’re also bonded by a tragic moment that shaped both their lives. Readers will hope with all their hearts that Lovey and Matt’s futures are presaged by Bob Marley’s “every little thing gonna be alright” lyrics that ring out during a momentous shared taxi ride. Boldly honest and bathed in empathy, Matt’s all-consuming, touching tale possesses a rare power to leave a lasting imprint.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | | Pitch perfect characterisation in a powerful story that shows how talent and support can turn a life around. This first book in the four part Run series is a world class middle grade story with all the witty tenderness of Louis Sachar and a whole lot of heart, humour and edge-of-your-seat action. Castle Cranshaw (better known as Ghost) discovered his talent for running the night he and his mom fled his violent dad. “Running isn’t anything I ever had to practice. It’s just something I knew how to do”, he explains. Hassled at school for his Mom-made haircuts, and constantly trying to avoid “altercations” that wind up making his school file bulge, Ghost’s life takes an upward turn when he spontaneously races a budding elite sprinter at a training session and wins. The coach, a former Olympic gold medalist, immediately invites him to join the team and they form a heart-melting bond fuelled by friendly sparring. Coach is exactly the mentor Ghost and his diverse bunch of talented teammates need. Ghost’s voice is endearingly authentic, honest and funny - pitch-perfect for his age and the novel’s readership. His “No! Don’t do it!” decisions and ensuing scrapes are evoked with intensity and humour (just wait for the “silver bullet” incident). Truly I cannot wait to spend more time in the company of Coach, Ghost and his teammates, each of whom will feature in future books in the series.
Winner of UKLA Shortlist Book Awards 2019 | Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2019 | Will is only fifteen but he’s experienced more violence and loss than most people might in an entire lifetime. His big brother Shawn was recently shot dead, right in front of him, but as “everybody knows”, “gunshots make everybody/deaf and blind especially/when they make somebody/dead”. While his mom mourns, “sobbing into her palms”, Will knows what he has to do. He must follow the three rules: No crying. No snitching. Revenge. Armed with Shawn’s gun, Will heads down six floors in an elevator on his revenge mission, thinking he knows exactly who he’s going after. When the “spooky ass” elevator stops at each floor and ghosts from the past step into the “vertical coffin”, doubts set in as Will is presented with more facts and finally comes face to face with some big choices (do some rules need to be broken? Does he want out of the cycle?), and more besides. The writing is crisp, clever and dazzlingly compact, with a whole family history and personally-charged societal issues conveyed with powerful precision. The line and page breaks are perfectly constructed, words and phrases frequently have multiple meanings, and Chris Priestley’s raw and resonant illustrations are hauntingly powerful.
AND THEN THERE WERE SHOTS. Everybody ran, ducked, hid, tucked themselves tight. Pressed our lips to the pavement and prayed the boom, followed by the buzz of a bullet, didn't meet us. After Will's brother is shot in a gang crime, he knows the next steps. Don't cry. Don't snitch. Get revenge. So he gets in the lift with Shawn's gun, determined to follow The Rules. Only when the lift door opens, Buck walks in, Will's friend who died years ago. And Dani, who was shot years before that. As more people from his past arrive, Will has to ask himself if he really knows what he's doing. This haunting, lyrical, powerful verse novel will blow you away.
The award-winning, bestselling verse novel is now a stunning graphic novel with illustrations by Danica Novgorodoff. SHORTLISTED for the CILIP Carnegie Medal, WINNER of the UKLA 'A masterpiece from beginning to end.' Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give AND THEN THERE WERE SHOTS Everybody ran, ducked, hid, tucked themselves tight. Pressed our lips to the pavement and prayed the boom, followed by the buzz of a bullet, didn't meet us. After Will's brother is shot in a gang crime, he knows the next steps. Don't cry. Don't snitch. Get revenge. So he gets in the lift with Shawn's gun, determined to follow The Rules. Only when the lift door opens, Buck walks in, Will's friend who died years ago. And Dani, who was shot years before that. As more people from his past arrive, Will has to ask himself if he really knows what he's doing. This haunting, lyrical, powerful verse novel will blow you away. 'A heartrending and convincing blank verse narrative.' Sunday Times, BOOKS OF THE YEAR 'Astonishing.' Kirkus Reviews 'A tour de force.' Publishers Weekly 'Will attract teenagers who don't consider themselves 'readers'.' The Inis Reading Guide
Lu must learn to leave his ego on the sidelines if he wants to finally connect with others in the finale to the New York Times bestselling and award-winning RUN series from Jason Reynolds. Lu was born to be co-captain of the Defenders. Well, actually, he was born albino, but that's got nothing to do with being a track star. Lu has swagger, plus the talent to back it up, and no-one's gonna outshine him. Lu knows he can lead Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and the team to victory at the championships, but it might not be as easy as it seems. Suddenly, there are hurdles in Lu's way - literally and not-so-literally - and Lu needs to figure out, fast, what winning the gold really means. Expect the unexpected in the final event in Jason Reynold's award-winning and bestselling RUN series.
In this important and compelling young readers adaptation of his National Book Award-winning title, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, writing with award-winning author Jason Reynolds, chronicles the story of anti-black, racist ideas over the course of American history. Racist ideas in our country did not arise from ignorance or hatred. Instead, they were developed by some of the most brilliant minds in history to justify and rationalise the nation's deeply entrenched discriminatory policies. But while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited. In shedding light on the history of racist ideas in America, this adaptation offers young readers the tools they need to combat these ideas - and, in the process, gives society a reason to hope. Through a gripping and fast-paced narrative that speaks to young readers on their level, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas - and on ways anti-racists can be empowered to combat racism in their daily lives.
When Sunny stops running in the middle of a race, Coach asks him what he wants to do instead. His answer is dance, but you can't be on a track team and dance... can you? With his dad's expectations weighing down on him, Sunny finally finds a track event that feels like dancing. But as he practices for this new event, can he let go of everything that's been eating him up inside? READ THE RUN SERIES: Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school running team - a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose and a lot to prove. Not only to each other, but to themselves.
It's not the taking part, it's the winning that counts for Patina! Patty, as she's known to her friends and family, has lost a lot in her life - her dad died when she was young, her mum has lost her legs and now she has to live with her uncle and his wife. On top of that Patty has to go to the poshest school that ever existed. Now her running team has become a relay team and independent I can do everything by myself Patty has to work with her team mates to win.
AND THEN THERE WERE SHOTSEverybodyran,ducked, hid, tuckedthemselves tight. Pressed our lips to thepavement and prayedthe boom, followed by the buzz of a bullet,didn't meet us.After Will's brother is shot in a gang crime, he knows the next steps. Don't cry. Don't snitch. Get revenge. So he gets in the lift with Shawn's gun, determined to follow The Rules. Only when the lift door opens, Buck walks in, Will's friend who died years ago. And Dani, who was shot years before that. As more people from his past arrive, Will has to ask himself if he really knows what he's doing.This haunting, lyrical, powerful verse novel will blow you away.
A YALSA 2018 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults Selection A Newbery Honor Book A Coretta Scott King Honor Book A Printz Honor Book A Los Angeles Times Book Prize Winner for Young Adult Literature Longlisted for the National Book Award for Young People's Literature Winner of the Walter Dean Myers Award An Edgar Award Winner for Best Young Adult Fiction Parents' Choice Gold Award Winner An Entertainment Weekly Best YA Book of 2017 A Vulture Best YA Book of 2017 A Buzzfeed Best YA Book of 2017 INCLUDES AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR! An ode to Put the Damn Guns Down, this is New York Times bestseller Jason Reynolds's fiercely stunning novel that takes place in sixty potent secondsthe time it takes a kid to decide whether or not he's going to murder the guy who killed his brother.A cannon. A strap. A piece. A biscuit. A burner. A heater. A chopper. A gat. A hammer A tool for RULE Or, you can call it a gun. That's what fifteen-year-old Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. See, his brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That's where Will's now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother's gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he's after. Or does he? As the elevator stops on the sixth floor, on comes Buck. Buck, Will finds out, is who gave Shawn the gun before Will took the gun. Buck tells Will to check that the gun is even loaded. And that's when Will sees that one bullet is missing. And the only one who could have fired Shawn's gun was Shawn. Huh. Will didn't know that Shawn had ever actually USED his gun. Bigger huh. BUCK IS DEAD. But Buck's in the elevator? Just as Will's trying to think this through, the door to the next floor opens. A teenage girl gets on, waves away the smoke from Dead Buck's cigarette. Will doesn't know her, but she knew him. Knew. When they were eight. And stray bullets had cut through the playground, and Will had tried to cover her, but she was hit anyway, and so what she wants to know, on that fifth floor elevator stop, is, what if Will, Will with the gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, MISSES. And so it goes, the whole long way down, as the elevator stops on each floor, and at each stop someone connected to his brother gets on to give Will a piece to a bigger story than the one he thinks he knows. A story that might never know an ENDif WILL gets off that elevator. Told in short, fierce staccato narrative verse, Long Way Down is a fast and furious, dazzlingly brilliant look at teenage gun violence, as could only be told by Jason Reynolds.