Lu

by Jason Reynolds

Reynolds rounds out his “Track” series with books focusing on the characters... read more

Reynolds rounds out his “Track” series with books focusing on the characters of Sunny and Lu, members of same elite track team as the main characters in Ghost and Patina. In Sunny, reliable miler Sunny decides he’s done with that race. He felt pressure from his dad to run it as a tribute to Sunny’s mom, a former marathoner who died after giving birth to him 13 years before. That’s a hard truth to live with, but even though he always wins, Sunny finds no joy in running the mile. What he really wants to do is dance, and in a story told through Sunny’s diary entries, bursts of onomatopoeia reflect his love of rhythm and movement. Home-schooled, Sunny has a wonderful tutor in vibrant Aurelia, but there is little connection between Sunny and his distant dad. But while the Defender’s coach works at turning Sunny into a discus thrower, an event that relies on rhythm and timing, Sunny and his dad are gradually moving toward new and deeper emotional honesty. In Lu, Lu(cas) is adjusting to big news: His mom is pregnant. As he considers what it will mean to be a big brother, he learns something upsetting about his dad, a former drug dealer, involving the Defenders’ beloved coach. On the track, Lu and his co- captain are at odds, while Lu’s new event—hurdles—is vexing him: Every time he approaches a hurdle, he freezes. It isn’t until Coach takes advantage of Lu’s poor eyesight—a side effect of his albinism—and asks him to run essentially blind that Lu begins to soar, learning to trust himself. The two books continue to build on the relationship among the four title characters, all of who are African American, while developing the individual stories of Sunny and Lu and their immediate families. The richly developed, credible secondary characters further emphasize the importance of connection and family—both blood and formed—forgiveness, and deciding what really matters. (Ages 9–13)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2019

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