For Every One by Jason Reynolds | SLJ Review

Gr 7 Up –Reynolds dedicates this lyrical masterpiece “to the dreamers, to the courageous, and everyone who wants to be,” though in his author’s note he admits the book-length poem began as a letter to himself “to keep from quitting.”

redstarREYNOLDS, Jason. For Every One. 112p. S. & S./Atheneum. Apr. 2018. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781481486248. POP

Gr 7 Up –Reynolds dedicates this lyrical masterpiece “to the dreamers, to the courageous, and everyone who wants to be,” though in his author’s note he admits the book-length poem began as a letter to himself “to keep from quitting.” He writes “from a place of raw honesty/and love/but not at all/a place of expertise on/how to make your/dreams come true.” This same humility and vulnerability permeates the entire work. Reynolds intersperses his own internal battles and unattained hopes as he validates the compulsion to achieve big goals, but that the slog toward them (rather than “making it”) may be all there is (and maybe that’s enough). The book’s unconventionality, tone, spirit, and design will remind Reynolds’ most dedicated fans of his first book, My Name Is Jason. Mine, Too: Our Story. Our Way. The notion that even a successful author can doubt themselves will be revelatory to teens. Those seeking a neatly packaged graduation gift book littered with platitudes would be wise to look elsewhere; this latest from Reynolds will challenge readers and undoubtedly inspire, comfort, and validate anyone aspiring to make or do, especially those who have a long road ahead of them. VERDICT A powerful and affirming book-length poem for teens.–Jill Heritage Maza, Montclair Kimberley Academy, NJ

This review was published in the School Library Journal April 2018 issue.

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