Patina by Jason Reynolds

Published by Atheneum

Summary:  Patina, or Patty, is a ferociously competitive member of the Defenders track team.  In the opening scene she comes in second place in a race, and is so angry at herself she can’t watch the rest of the meet or root for her teammates.  The next week, the coach puts her in a key position of the new relay team, hoping to help her become more of a team player.  Patty struggles with this issue off the team, too, trying to figure out how to deal with the wealthy white girls at her new private school.  Her aunt and uncle are sending her to the school, after Patty and her younger sister Maddie have to move in with them.  Patty’s father is dead, and her mother has lost both legs to diabetes, making Patty fiercely protective of Maddie.  Like Ghost before her, Patina works through her problems through the course of the book in a realistic and sympathetic way, and is struggling to be the first to cross the finish line at a crucial race when the book ends.  240 pages; grades 4-8.

Pros:  The second book in Jason Reynolds’s Track series does not disappoint, offering the same grit and heart as Ghost, with a narrator whose voice is just as true and honest.  Reynolds shows that he can vividly portray a wide range of interesting female characters.  Readers (including this one) will be anxiously awaiting book #3.

Cons:  Patina’s story is a bit more of an internal odyssey than Ghost’s was; readers may miss some of the action from the first book.

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