Patina by Jason Reynolds

cover image

Ghost and Lu are on Patina’s running team and they support one another even when things go wrong, like when Ghost makes a false start in the 100 metres. Patina reflects that it is actually a real start at the wrong time. Ghost goes on to win his race but Patina has to deal with second place in the 800 metres, a false finish, not the first place she had expected. The certainty of running success is important to Patina as so many other parts of the 12-year old’s life has been out of her control. After her father’s sudden death six years ago, her birth mother (Ma) was unable to care for them as her legs were amputated due to severe diabetes. Patina and little sister Maddy have had to go and live with their uncle and aunt. Staying strong is what Patina does, she looks after Maddy, making sure her hair is done in cornrows before their weekly visit to Ma, she tries to do her best at her new school, a girls’ school with mostly white rich kids, the ‘hair flippers’ who have no idea what she has been through, and she tries to fit in to the routines of her adoptive family. Running success is important to her, strong legs that carry her beyond a day-to-day life that can be challenging, with teamates who understand her need to win. When the coach tells them they are to train for a relay Patina has to adjust to teamwork where winning or losing is not under her control. This follow up to the very popular Ghost is dedicated 'For those who’ve been passed the baton too young' and Patina’s everyday life is certainly burdened with responsibilities thrust upon her. However, she has a strong support network determined to make things work even if they are not ideal and they help her to face challenges, grow as an individual, and keep learning. This is book 2 in the 4 volume Track series about a running team with kids from very different backgrounds and will appeal to a wide range of readers.

Themes: Track running, Friendship, Adoption, Grief.

Sue Speck