I’m just saying this right now — Jason Reynolds is an ePosted originally at my blog The Perpetual Page-Turner -- come hang out for book talk and more!
I’m just saying this right now — Jason Reynolds is an extraordinary talent who needs WAY more recognition. I was so, so impressed with The Boy In The Black Suit. It’s smart, moving and
1. The Boy in the Black Suit was a book that I related to immensely: It’s no secret that I gravitate to books dealing with grief –especially that of a parent– and Jason Reynolds explored this with such finesse and beauty. Now, if you hear “grief” in the summary and normally go running, I’m begging you not to. It wasn’t the ugly sobbing sort of book about grief and it most definitely is NOT all about grief. Rather it was just so quietly profound and piercing in its emotion as Matt grieves his mom and tries to find normalcy in the after and tries to deal with that crushing loneliness that seems to separate you from everyone else because nobody seems to be able to truly understand — whether or not that’s true. I cannot even tell you how many pages I dog-eared because I just kept nodding my head like, “YES. Exactly this. I felt this.” I understood his need to watch someone else’s raw grief to know he wasn’t alone. I just connected with him so much and Jason Reynolds tapped into something REAL and raw that made my heart ache.
2. I loved the relationship between Matt & Lovey: I loved that Lovey doesn’t actually come into the picture right away because we really get to know Matt in a way I think we need to in order to show his loneliness but the downside to that is I WANTED MORE MATT AND LOVEY because they were just so smile inducing. Their connection is just so beautiful and honestly it reminds me a lot of how Will and I really connected for the first time in a real way. There’s something so isolating about grief and when you find someone who GETS it, it feels so intense. That’s how Will and I connected at first (I had just lost my mom and he had lost his mom when he was younger) and then it’s what brought us even closer together as a couple when he lost his dad a couple years into our relationship. What Matt and Lovey share is hard to describe but Jason Reynolds lets you FEEL it in such an honest way.
3. Matt’s POV is one of the best male POVs I’ve read in a while: Truly, his POV was just so refreshing and really captivated me. This book is definitely a character driven novel and Matt felt like a leap off the pages type character to me. God, Jason Reynolds is just a fantastic writer.
4. Mr Ray. That’s all I’m going to say: Look, you just need to meet Mr. Ray because he is one of my favorite secondary characters that I’ve met in a while....more
I almost put this book down to be honest because I was just really not into it. It wasn’t the novel in verse thing, which I like, it was just that I wI almost put this book down to be honest because I was just really not into it. It wasn’t the novel in verse thing, which I like, it was just that I was pretty much bored and not feeling like I cared what the last page held. But I kept reading it because I was like, “oh what the hell..it’s really short, told in verse and I’ll finish it in less than an hour…which I did.
1. I swear, I felt no emotions during this book: If I could have recorded my face reading it I feel like my face would have been have remained the same the whole time and FEELINGS pretty much did fluctuate at all. I was just turning page after page hoping something would make me care. I mean, I WANTED to care about a young girl who cuts herself and gets caught and Baker Acted (sent to a psych ward for a mandatory 72 hours). I thought I would feel something towards it but I just didn’t. Like at all. I felt nothing really which was strange considering I know it was inspired by this happening to the author’s daughter.
2. From a technical standpoint I thought the novel in verse worked well & the writing was solid: It was poetic and flowed really well. I really LOVE novels in verse and this executed it really well. It really FIT the story well!
3. I will say that I liked that it wasn’t an AND NOW SHE IS FIXED AFTER THIS EVENT type of book but just a snapshot of a girl who can’t help but cut and is forced to reflect on it: It was about a normal girl. Not a girl with a ton of issues or a deep dark secret. But just a girl who got caught up in it for her own reasons (which are revealed). It wasn’t an “AND NOW SHE IS SAVED AND SHALL NEVER CUT AGAIN” book but an honest look at a girl who gets a chance to reflect on it for 72 hours and meet people who will give her even more to think about. It’s that looking back of this is how I got there, this is where I’m at and she gets to think about the path she wants to take when she is released. I FELT like it was a realistic portrayal but I also admit that my experience is limited to this peer pressure induced, wanting-attention-from-a-guy-I-liked week of cutting I had in 7th grade....more
A Little Something Different was well…a little something different as far as romances go. I was smitten with the unique way this story was told and was just a refreshing sort of read that defied the norm!
1. I swear this book was a love letter to my people-watching soul: I am a people-watcher. I make up things in my mind about the people I observe. This book was told from 14 different perspectives — baristas, friends of Gabe and Lea, A SQUIRREL, a professor etc. All of these people observed some facet of their interactions and were wanting them to get together! THESE ARE MAH PEOPLE. Watching it all unfold. Willing it to happen. SHIPPING THE CRAP OUT OF IT. I loved the observations and watching this love story unfold from the eyes of friends, strangers and at times INANIMATE OBJECTS. YEAH YOU HEARD ME.
2. The 14 perspectives sound confusing but it wasn’t at ALL to me: It was labeled with the name and who they were (example: waitress, Gabe’s friend, etc.) so I remembered who they were easily from the beginning. I was worried about how this would be pulled off and I thought maybe it would be confusing and jumbled but somehow it just really worked well for me!
3. Can we talk about how adorably awkward this romance was??? I used to observe a lot at my small college and I TOTALLY used to see the beginnings of relationships just by sitting in class or in the lounge. I HAVE SEEN COUPLES LIKE THIS. Maybe not quite as awkward and frustrating (in the way that you are like OMG TALK TO EACH OTHER AND STOP BEING SO AWKWARD) but I just loved how down-to-earth and realistic this romance was. It wasn’t a sweeping, grand gesture-y romance but just the kind you know happen. There’s a lot of frustrations, because as readers, we know things that Gabe and Lea don’t know about the other because we see THEM through interactions with different perspective so the NEED for them to figure it out so they can KISS already is overwhelming. It’s just a cute, awkwardly romantic story and I really enjoyed it. SO CUTE....more