When I Was the Greatest – Jason Reynolds

when i was the greatestSet in a Brooklyn neighborhood, Ali strives to do the right thing, respecting his hard working single mother and caring for his sassy sister. Ali becomes friends with brothers Noodles and Needles from the dilapidated house next door who are not as fortunate to have a parent as responsible as his mother. The under-aged boys get themselves invited to a party and end up in a heap of trouble.

Needles, who has Tourette’s Syndrome, finds control through knitting suggested by Ali’s mother who is a social worker. Noodles wrestles with impulse and anger issues. The appearance of Ali’s thieving father determined in his own way to protect his son is heartfelt. The pure voice of Ali narrating the story sets this book up to be an award winner (I hope!). Highly recommend.

eGalley review     Publication date 1.7.14

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