Patina by Jason Reynolds
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017
Patina, nickname Patty, is the main character in this second book of Jason Reynold's Track series, described on the inside book cover as an explosive series about "a fast but fiery group of kids who have a shot at the Junior Olympics, but have a lot to prove first -- to one another, and to themselves." A book in a series can be a bit tricky when thinking about the Mock Newbery because the book should be able to stand alone as a distinguished book. No problem with this novel; it does stand on its own.
Patty and her sister are living with their aunt and uncle since their mother has many health complications due to diabetes. Throughout the book, Patty struggles with fitting in with the "hair flippers" at her new school. Her little sister is at the school too, but as Patty says about her sister, Maddy:
she loves it, but that's because this is the only school she's ever been at. She's never been in a school where you didn't have to wear pleated paper bags. She never went to a school with boys, and yes, boys make school really, really annoying sometimes, but they also can make it pretty fun. Or at least funny. Maddy never went to a school with mostly black kids either. She's only known life as a "raisin in milk," as my Ma puts it. (p. 29)
Patty's is a strong voice. She is also a strong runner. I am not a runner, but Reynold's description of the races and being on a track team seem spot-on to me. Reynolds dedicates the novel "For those who've been passed the baton too young." Patty is passed the baton literally and figuratively; her story is well worth reading.
I can't wait to talk about this book at our Mock Newbery discussion which will be held on February 3rd, 2018 at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne, IN. Or add your comments below! We'd love to know what YOU thought of this title.
Each week, beginning the first week of November 2017 through the last week of January 2018, we will be discussing one (or more) of the titles on our 2018 Mock Newbery list. (The complete list of titles we'll be discussing can be found here.)