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Look Both Ways

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  3,524 ratings  ·  779 reviews
From National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds comes a novel told in ten blocks, showing all they different directions a walk home can take.

This story was going to begin like all the best stories. With a school bus falling from the sky. But no one saw it happen. They were all too busy—

Talking about boogers.
Stealing pocket change.
ebook, 208 pages
Published October 8th 2019 by Atheneum
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Elvina Barclay I'd say middle school, grades 6 to 8.…moreI'd say middle school, grades 6 to 8. (less)

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Average rating 4.05  · 
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 ·  3,524 ratings  ·  779 reviews

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This review was going to begin like all the best reviews. With a new Jason Reynolds books 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. ...more
Larry H
Oct 15, 2019 rated it liked it
For many children, when the bell rings at the end of the day, it signifies excitement, the start of fun and adventure. When children walk home from school, the freedoms are sometimes greater since they’re not limited by the confines of the bus. However, there are other risk factors as well.

Jason Reynolds’ newest book, Look Both Ways , which was recently named a National Book Award finalist, looks at 10 different journeys home—each characterized by a different block on the way home from school—
Julie Zantopoulos
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very consumable stories that are all hard-hitting, impactful, and essential for middle grade readers. However, it does cover some really intense topics like bullying, homophobia, parents with cancer, the death of siblings, etc. It covers these themes in age-appropriate ways and tastefully. It's diverse and beautifully written (uniquely written, too). I connected with some stories more than others but overall, this is a really great read for middle grade readers.
Julia Sapphire
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019-releases, 2019
I received an ARC of this book at BEA, in exchange for an honest review.

2.5 stars

I loved Reynolds previous book "Long Way Done", it was incredible and I was excited to read more work from him. When I saw "Look Both Ways" at BEA I was super excited to pick it up!! So this book is a middle-grade novel that is a "tale told in ten blocks". Such an interest concept! This showcases the lives of young kids, their neighborhoods and their friendships with others.

Honestly, I was let down by this
Sep 17, 2019 added it
Shelves: read-in-2019
Go into this one knowing it's a series of short stories linked together because all of the kids go to the same school. There are characters who cross over and reappear, but this isn't about how they intersection, necessarily. It's about how they share the same common ground but live such vastly different lives. It's a peek inside the bus windows, so to speak, as kids deal with a whole host of challenges at home and outside the home.

What I really loved about this one is that these are such
I’m somewhere between a 3 and a 3.5.

I’ve always wanted to read a Jason Reynolds book because I’ve heard him speak on multiple occasions and he is amazing. So when this book was nominated for the National Book Award, I decided to give it a go without even checking out its premise.

You may think that my rating is low but I assure you that there’s nothing wrong with the book. The writing style itself is wonderful and easy to read, and the different narrators for each of the stories in the audiobook
Traci at The Stacks
I loved this book. Reynolds is so observant and his stories are so specific and subtle. Which is especially rare in work for young people. The characters are real and contain their own traumas without this being a book about trauma.
Rec-It Rachel
(i don't really like the way santiago's size is described as "two kids tall and two kids wide" because like...he is a kid. so he, by definition, is kid size...right?)
Shaye Miller
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a set of ten separate short stories, but the characters are connected — living just blocks from one another and going to the same school (Latimer Middle School). I listened to the audiobook which featured some amazing narrators. While it wasn’t my favorite of Reynold’s books, I did enjoy each story and felt like I really got to know the characters in a brief segment of time.

For more children's literature, middle grade literature, and YA literature reviews, feel free to visit my
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-library, oct19
I absolutely loved this book!!!
Chronicled over 10 short stories following ten different kids on ten different blocks, Jason Reynold’s most recent work is a beautiful tapestry of the multifaceted lives of elementary school kids.

I didn’t know going into this that this was a collection of interconnected short stories, so I was a bit caught off guard by the ending of the first chapter, but once I was settled in, I fell in love with Reynold’s poignant and impactful glimpses into these characters’ lives. We follow children who
Michelle Stimpson
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I liked all the stories in this book, but I LOVED the second story the most. And I loved how this book put me right back into the days when I walked home from school. I read it in a day. Couldn't put it down.
Robin Stevens
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A funny, gross, heartbreaking, heartwarming, clever and twisty short story collection from an absolute master of children's writing. (8+)

*Please note: this review is meant as a recommendation only. If you use it in any marketing material, online or anywhere on a published book without asking permission from me first, I will ask you to remove that use immediately. Thank you!*
Melanie Dulaney
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Both my library patrons and I really enjoy Jason Reynolds' "Track" series-Ghost, Lu, Sunny, et al and I like "Look Both Ways." My rating is a 4, but that makes it seem like I enjoyed it as much as the aforementioned series and I didn't. Mr. Reynolds' ability to weave diverse characters together using a neighborhood of very different streets and managing to get a bus falling from the sky throughout was impressive. His cast displayed a variety of social, family, and economic situations that felt ...more
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Look Both Ways is ten stories of students in one school. Some of them know each other well and some just as acquaintances. There are bullies, and friends, and first loves. There are family dramas and just different kinds of families. This is a deftly written story for young people, about young people. Thank you to BEA and Simon and Schuster children’s publishing.
Brent Gilson
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this story, or I guess the series of stories woven together. I loved each of the characters individually. Reynolds writes in a way that makes you want to get more of their story than just one chapter. Awesome book that I plan to buy multiple copies of.
book bruin
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Audiobook Review

Overall 4.5 stars
Performance 5+ stars
Story 4 stars

Look Both Ways was such a wonderful surprise. I don't generally read/listen to middle-grade fiction, but I thought it might be something I could listen to and discuss with my own middle-grade daughter. I was also very intrigued by the idea of "a novel told in ten blocks, showing all the different directions a walk home can take." The book is written in a way that is humorous and engaging, but also heartfelt and poignant. All of
I loved this collection of stories, each told from the perspective of a student or a group of students in the hour after leaving a long day of school. Each story seems to build on the previous. You start to recognize students mentioned in later stories from previous stories, in that way Reynolds really captures the social lives of middle school students where you have your core friends, or not, but many of your peers play a role in your daily life just by existing.

Each child is real and
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best book I’ve ever read. Absolutely brilliant.
Beth Honeycutt
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this collection of stories! Really close to 5 stars. I think “Skitter Hitter” was my favorite although I really did like them all! Funny, sad, sweet, and REAL stories.

Some excellent narrative craft moves that teachers could share with their writers:)
Oct 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: j-october
A lovely compilation of short stories of characters directly or indirectly connected to each other by living in the same neighborhood. The characters were humorous and endearing and brave.
Katie Fitzgerald
In this collection of short stories, Jason Reynolds tells ten tales, each one featuring the after-school life of a student at an urban middle school. The stories explore such common middle school themes as best friendship, first love, family struggles, sexual identity (including two boys kissing), and bullying.

Jason Reynolds is an extremely talented writer, and I gave this book four stars based almost exclusively on the quality of the writing within each story. As in his Track series (Ghost,
Ten stories. One school. Each one of them was so honest. The collection is so diverse. Full review to follow.

So excited to listen to this one! Thanks to's ALC program and Simon & Schuster.
This book does a lot of work to survey an inter-connected community of young people who are (generally) just trying to get home from school. Jason Reynolds is the literal KING of voice, mastering a wide swath of young people who are facing very Real Problems; despite some of the hard topics explored (including homophobia, death, and disease), this book is joyful and funny, a great example of why Reynolds is such an impactful and wide-ranging writer.

This book deserves all the awards it will get.
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The craft of this is brilliant! Jason Reynolds has done it again!
Amanda Lee
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jason Reynolds is a master storyteller. This book seems simple- short stories about kids walking home from school. But the way he weaves so much more into each the story is beautiful. This should be used as a master piece in writing classes. I’m so glad I got an ARC at ALA. Can’t wait to get a copy of this for my library to share with students.
Shauna Yusko
I laughed (Grease Fire), I cried (The Low Cuts!!!).

For the middle schoolers, for the Jason Reynolds fans, for the writing teachers, and more.
4 stars

Okay, I wasn't so sure if I would like this book because I'm not as much a fan of short stories. And in truth, some of these short stories sort of left me hanging and wanting more. But I really liked the way Jason Reynolds told these little vignettes while connecting them with the school, bus, and journey home. While I was initially confused by some of the stories, as I continued, I started to see the connections and it made it more and more interesting as I went along. The last one
Mrs Heidrich
4.5 stars! Wow... once again Jason Reynolds has created an amazing piece of writing that makes me want to dive back in right after I've barely finished. I know reading it again would allow me to see connections that I didn't see the first time. The book in 10 shorter stories woven together in small ways. Now, I will say that being in a K-7, I would have this in my library in a heartbeat, but would also be sure that it was read by older kids and be aware that some of the kids would have a harder ...more
3.5 stars
One middle school, one day, ten stories. Each chapter introduces readers to a new block and new characters that help build a sense of the community and school. The sentence level writing shines and Reynolds is able to build believable, developed students that are distinguishable from story to story. Another plus - all of the characters felt solidly like middle school students. These are 6th, 7th, and 8th graders as they live now. Some stories are emotionally intense, others are
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After earning a BA in English from The University of Maryland, College Park, he moved to Brooklyn, New York, where you can often find him walking the four blocks from the train to his apartment talking to himself. Well, not really talking to himself, but just repeating character names and plot lines he thought of on the train, over and over again, because he’s afraid he’ll forget it all before he ...more
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