Review of the Day: Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds

By | 2019-09-19 | including 1 item |
This review was going to begin like all the best reviews. With a new Jason Reynolds book falling from the sky. “Falling from the sky” is probably a bit hyperbolic, but that’s what it feels like whenever a new Reynolds hits the market. Now due to the focus required of my job, I couldn’t care less when Reynolds has written a new book for teens. As far as I’m concerned, books are best when written for the 0-14 crowd and anything that speaks to readers of more mature years is apocryphal. Untenable. Untouchable. And I think Mr. Reynolds is still seen as primarily a YA author at this point. This, in spite of the fact that he’s written an entire series (beginning with <a href="http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2016/08/11/review-of-the-day-ghost-by-jason-reynolds/"><em>Ghost</em></a>) for middle grade readers, to say nothing of <a href="https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/As-Brave-As-You/Jason-Reynolds/9781481415910"><em> As Brave As You</em></a>. So you can keep all that teen stuff. Hand me the Reynolds meant for the smaller fry. Now <em>Look Both Ways</em> isn’t baby fare, by any means. It’s probably accurate to call it straight up middle school/junior high fiction. That sad little neither-here-nor-there age range where you’ve too many hormones to pass as elementary, but not quite enough to slip unnoticed into a high school hallway. Nobody knows quite what to do with middle school books. Do you shelve them in the kid’s section of the library/bookstore or the YA section? Or do you give them their own section entirely? Well, good news. I know exactly what to do with this particular middle school book. You need to weigh it down with awards, so many that it can no longer stand under its own weight and is forced to stagger to the display unit that stands front and center in the library where all the best books go. Then, and only then, will it have found its true home.
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