FROM TIME TO time a book becomes questioned by a teacher or parent. This book is new to our collection and it was bought because of the surging popularity of its author, Jason Reynolds. We have all been on high alert for school safety and this book contains and image of a handgun. A teacher saw the book and questioned its story. So I spent a couple of days reading and reviewing and was blown away by its amazing story. Ali is a boy growing up with a little sister and a mother who works two jobs in Brooklyn. Life isn’t always easy but his family is tight and finds a way to make the best out of each day. Ali gets a new neighbor and a new best friend, Noodles. Noodles and his brother Needles live in a notorious apartment know for lowlifes but they stick together. Needles has a syndrome that causes him to suddenly have psychical and vocal outburst when he gets upset. Ali’s mom taught him how to knit and he has found his escape from his syndrome, but Noodles has his own issues without having their father in their lives and their mother never being home. Ali and Noodles form a tight friendship but Ali beings to question his treatment of Needles. All that changes when the three are invited to an exclusive party in which they have to keep a sharp eye on Needles but they get caught up in their own fun and something tragic happens to Needles that they hope he can recover from and forgive them too.
It is a wonderful story about family, friendship, and loyalty. We have a student who will be spending her spring break enjoy this book next. It is always to read and review a book but it is a pleasant surprise when it is an amazing book like this one.
–When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds