When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Jason Reynolds has written a diverse book all teens will want to read. I found this title on #weneeddiversebooks. This book is urban fiction (my students loved urban fiction!!!), involves a black teen with Tourette Syndrome, the toughness of neighborhood and family but also the closeness of community. Ali is a teen who becomes friends with brothers, Noodles & Needles when thyey move into his neighborhood. They hang out on the steps of their Bed-Stuy block but these 2 brothers lives are so much more gritty than Ali's. Ali has a tough, loving mother who works 2 jobs, an 11 year old sister wise beyond her years, and a father who seems to be absent. Ali has scruples and looks forward to his days with Noodles and Needles even calling them The Three Musketeers. But as time goes on, Ali begins to struggle with the way Noodles treats his brother, Needles. It all explodes one night, causing Ali to question if he can be friends with Noodles ever again. The writing is unflinching but also extols family, friendship, loyalty and honesty. I loved everything about this book and am definitely diving right into Jason Reynolds next book, The Boy in the Black Suit. Highly recommended.
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