Skip to main content

Sunny and Lu

Last year saw Jason Reynolds conclude his excellent series about the newbies on the Defenders track team. The final two books Sunny and Lu came out relatively close together. I read them both this week and decided to put them in one review. In my opinion these two were not as strong as the first two in the series, but I do feel like the end overall was well done.

Sunny runs for his mom. His mom who can't run because she died when he was born. It's more accurate to say he runs for his father who is constantly reminding him of this. Sunny doesn't want to run though. He loves being a part of the Defenders. He just doesn't want to run the mile anymore. So one day he doesn't. He just stops. Refuses to move on and finish. His father won't talk to him, but coach understands. Sunny really wants to dance but there is no position for a dancer on a track team. Instead Sunny starts throwing the discus, which is kind of like dancing in a way. But he still needs to face his father's disappointment and the hole in their lives his mother left behind.

Sunny is a likable character. His voice wasn't as strong to me as the others. His story is told as though the book is his journal, and he is talking to it. There is a stream of conscious to this as a result that. Added to that is Sunny's almost hyper personality that bounces fast from one thing to another quickly. It made the narrative a little tougher to follow because it was jerking and twisting  so much. It sets it apart as unique from the others, but it was harder for me to focus on and want to follow. I think this will in no way be a problem for the intended audience, and what is challenging for some readers, will be exactly what some will come to love about this book. One thing that is great about this series overall is how different each character is and how very much they own their stories. It is also nice to have a book where the protagonist is a homeschooler who isn't off-the-walls weird or with a crazy family.

Lu is co-captain of the Defenders-a position that is quite an honor for a newbie. Lu knows he is good and destined for great things. His very existence is a miracle after all. His mother wasn't supposed to able to have kids and yet here he is. Sure he gets teased some for being albino. But he also has swagger and not a little bit of ego. Then Lu finds out he's going to be an older brother making him not quite so much a miracle anymore. As he's coming to terms with the kind of big brother he wants to be, he learns some troubling things about his father's fast that also has him questioning who he is and what sort of person he is and the sort of person he wants to become. j

Lu's story brings the whole series full circle. There's a reason he was chosen to be a co-captain and that is obvious as the book progresses. All of the others are present far more in Lu's books than they are in each others. This isn't simply convenient so Reynolds could bring the series to a close. It's because Lu is one of those personalities that reaches out and grabs others. He pays attention to their lives and pulls them into his. There are a lot of hard truths Lu has to face in this book. He does this mostly with grace and charm even though his struggle is also clearly evident.

The backstory of Coach that began in Ghost is brought full circle in this volume as well. The end is kind of corny overall, but it is the type of corny that works. That's a fine line to tread, but Reynolds finds the balance.

I do think the series strongest book is Patina but that could simply be because she's my favorite character. It's definitely one of those series where all the books benefit from the others and they are must have for any middle grade reader's shelves.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

TTT: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed blog hop created by  The Broke and the Bookish  and now hosted at  That Artsy Reader Girl . This Week's Topic: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List From Most Recent to Least: What books have recently caught your eye?

Favorite Kissing Scenes

When thinking of a favorite things post I could do for February I decided it would have to be kissing. I've already done couples and I was feeling in the mood to do something fluffy and Valentine's related. So kisses it is. I read more MG than YA, and the YA I read tends to not focus on romance so this was actually harder than I expected it to be though a few jumped into my head right away. (And one of my choices does actually come from a MG book. One is adult. Gasp!) The actual scene from the book is quoted followed by my thoughts. The king lifted a hand to her cheek and kissed her. It was not a kiss between strangers, not even a kiss between a bride and a groom. It was a kiss between a man and his wife, and when it was over, the king closed his eyes and rested his forehead against the hollow of the queen's shoulder, like a man seeking respite, like a man reaching home at the end of the day . - The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner Turner doesn't write the

Jinx's Fire

I have been a big fan of Jinx and company from the very first book, which felt like such a perfect Brandy book. The conclusion of Sage Blackwood's trilogy, Jinx's Fire , finished the story beautifully and is definitely my favorite of the three. Spoilers for first two books abound. Read those first: Jinx Jinx's Magic The Urwald is in danger from more than one direction and has no hope of defending itself if there is not unity amongst the people. Jinx, Sophie, Elfwyn, Wendell, and a dedicated group of others are working to make this happen as quickly as they can. Time is running out. At the same time, they are still dealing with the threat of the Bonemaster from within, and the Urwald's magic is fading. Where is it going? Can it be restored? And where has the Bonemaster put Simon? Jinx is the only one who can find the answers to these questions, and harnass the Urwald's power to save them all, but only if he is willing. Jinx has some serious attitude in this

Shadowshaper

Shadowshaper  by Daniel José Older is everywhere. Best of lists. Award buzz. Blogs everywhere. It's one of those books everyone is reading and talking about. I had it on my TBR but decided I definitely needed to read it before the year was out just so I could weigh in on one of the most talked about books of 2015 if asked. It is deserving of every good thing said about it. Every. One. Sierra was looking forward to a relaxing summer break. Her plans involved hanging out with her friends and painting. They did not involve being chased by zombie like creatures and threatened by a magical power connected to her family's heritage she has never heard of. When murals begin fading all over her Brooklyn neighborhood, Sierra is perplexed. When her grandfather, who had a stroke, begins to apologize and starts repeating strange phases and insisting Sierra get the help of a boy she barely knows to help her finish her mural, Sierra is concerned but mostly about her grandfather. Then at a

Serafina and the Black Cloak

Serafina and the Black Cloak  by Robert Beatty is a thrilling tale of mystery and adventure set at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC in 1899. Having lived in Asheville and visited the house several times, there was no way I was going to pass up a chance to read this. (Also it's MG fantasy, always a bonus for me.) Serafina lives in secret in the basement of the Vanderbilt's spacious vacation home. She has lived there most of her life. Her father worked on the house as it was being built and is the mechanic who runs the massive generator and keeps the electricity going. Serafina is the chief rat catcher, slipping through the halls of her massive home secretly and quietly. She is light on her feet, sees well in the dark, and is quick enough to catch the vermin and keep them out. Serafina knows she if different and strange. Her father insists she stay hidden. But all that changes when one night Serafina witnesses a horrible crime. A little girl, a guest in the house, is fleein