LU by Jason Reynolds

LU

From the "Track" series, volume 4
Age Range: 10 - 14
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A middle-grade runner soars over obstacles to shine as a leader for his team and family.

In this final addition to Reynolds’ Track series, the titular, self-described “fine-o albino” is nervous, maybe a little scared, about the many changes occurring during the week leading to the championships for the Defenders. An unexpected pregnancy announcement from his parents and the challenge of waltzing to a win in his new event, hurdles, among other things, keep Lu’s emotions, and feet, racing. Reynolds’ seamless integration of Lu’s story into his series shows him to be a master of temporal structure, highlighting individual and collective growth of his four protagonists over one season. The circularity of his similes in describing the generations of teasing endured by Lu’s father, who stuttered as a child (“You sound like a choking Chihuahua”), by Lu, bullied due to his albinism (“Yo, you look like a cotton ball dipped in white paint”), and even by a bully Lu takes down (“Yo, Kelvin, you smell like your blood ain’t blood. It’s trash juice pumping through your things”) emphasizes the triumph of healing and unity in the book’s surprising ending. New and returning characters help to create tension and smooth transitions, but Lu pulls ahead as the catalyst for much of the relational shifts between adults and kids, showcasing children’s power to effect true communal change.

The perfect anchor leg for a well-run literary relay. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-4814-5024-9
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2018




Kirkus Interview
Jason Reynolds
February 10, 2015

In Jason Reynolds’ new YA novel The Boy in the Black Suit, 17-year-old Matt thinks he can’t handle one more piece of terrible news, until he meets a girl who’s dealt with a lot more—and who just might be able to clue him in on how to rise up when life keeps knocking him down—in this wry novel from the author of When I Was the Greatest. Matt wears a black suit every day. No, not because his mom died—although she did, and it sucks. But he wears the suit for his gig at the local funeral home, which pays way better than the Cluck Bucket, and he needs the income since his dad can’t handle the bills (or anything, really) on his own. “Reynolds writes with a gritty realism that beautifully captures the challenges—and rewards—of growing up in the inner city,” our reviewer writes. “A vivid, satisfying and ultimately upbeat tale of grief, redemption and grace.” View video >

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