Image Map

A Friday Five (#22) When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds


Each Friday I'll feature one of my favorite books or a book I read in the last week and come up 5 words to describe it.  View it as a super mini review.  This week I'm featuring:

This book was recommended to me by one of the people working the Simon & Schuster booth at ALA-Midwinter.  She had such awesome things to say about it, I wanted to check it out for myself even though this is not my normal type of read.  Here are my five words.

  1. Realistic
  2. Fluid
  3. Complex
  4. Vivid
  5. Outstanding

Realistic:  Ali, the main character, could be any kid in any urban area in the U.S.  It was written as a slice of his life.  He could be that kid you pass on the street, or see on subway, metro, bus, or any other type of public transportation.  He stepped off the street and came alive on the page.  But it wasn't just him, it was everything.  The dialog, the setting, and all the secondary characters were just so true to life.

Fluid:  This describes the writing.  The words just flowed.  I struggle to get through 50 pages a day in most books.  I looked up from this one, and not only had I finished 100 pages, but more time had passed than I realized.  It was a book I couldn't wait to get back to.  A lot of that had to due with the fluidity of the writing.

Complex:  There was a lot going on, but it was never confusing.  There were many characters, but you really got a feel for them and their stories.  The secondary character's stories and personalities are weaved so expertly into the story, that it just brings a welcome layer to the main story.

Vivid:  I keep coming back to the characters, and not just Ali. They are all so well written and so memorable.  I could have read an entire book based on each of these characters.  But as I mentioned before, in seconds you were transported to that street in Brooklyn.  I've never been to Bed Stuy, but if I close my eyes when the street was described I can immediately transport myself there.

Outstanding:  This just sums up my feelings about the book as a whole. It's easily the best book I've read so far this year, and I can't wait to see what the author comes up with next.  It was so well done from the writing, to the characters, to the pace, to the plot.  It was just outstanding.

Bottom Line:  I loved it, the woman at Simon & Schuster was right on. I can't recommend this book enough. There is a shortage of urban literature in YA, and if more books of this quality can be published, I can't wait to read more.

No comments:

Post a Comment