Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Review: When I Was the Greatest

Jason Reynolds. New York: Antheneum Books for Young Readers, 2014. 240 pp.
Rating: OMG
Rarely, do I come across a young adult novel to which I greatly identify. A novel that speaks of some of my childhood experiences while uttering the words of my friends, schoolmates, and family.  A story that opens with one of those out-of-left field questions that I was famous for asking.

Ali lives by one word—loyalty. This sixteen-year old latchkey kid is fiercely loyal to his family and friends. Shying away from the trouble in his neighborhood, Ali spends his time boxing, watching his little sister, hanging out with Noodles and Needles, but mainly bailing Noodles out of his messes. Although Ali is usually the level-headed one of the group, he pushes for them to attend a party catering to an older crowd. However, the good time brought with it tragic consequences.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Reynolds’ writing style captures the authentic voice of a sixteen-year old male prompting the words to leap off the page. The plot slowly builds like a lazy summer day. When I Was the Greatest is a splendid coming of age tale brimming with family, friendships, redemption, and second chances.

Click the link to purchase When I Was the Greatest

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