Look Both Ways
From National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds comes a novel told in ten blocks, showing all they different directions a walk home can take.This story was going to begin like all the best stories. With a school bus falling from the sky. But no one saw it happen. They were all too busy—Talking about boogers.Stealing pocket change.Skateboarding.Wiping out.Braving up.Executing complicated handshakes.Planning an escape.Making jokes.Lotioning up.Finding comfort.But mostly, too busy walking home.Jason Reynolds conjures ten tales (one per block) about what happens after the dismissal bell rings, and brilliantly weaves them into one wickedly funny, piercingly poignant look at the detours we face on the walk home, and in life.

Look Both Ways Details

TitleLook Both Ways
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 8th, 2019
PublisherAtheneum
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Short Stories, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult, Fiction

Look Both Ways Review

  • Larry H
    January 1, 1970
    For many children, when the bell rings at the end of the day, it signifies excitement, the start of fun and adventure. When children walk home from school, the freedoms are sometimes greater since they’re not limited by the confines of the bus. However, there are other risk factors as well.Jason Reynolds’ newest book, Look Both Ways , which was recently named a National Book Award finalist, looks at 10 different journeys home—each characterized by a different block on the way home from For many children, when the bell rings at the end of the day, it signifies excitement, the start of fun and adventure. When children walk home from school, the freedoms are sometimes greater since they’re not limited by the confines of the bus. However, there are other risk factors as well.Jason Reynolds’ newest book, Look Both Ways , which was recently named a National Book Award finalist, looks at 10 different journeys home—each characterized by a different block on the way home from school—and what they signify. They are somewhat interrelated, in that characters are mentioned in more than one story.From the boy plotting a "safe" route home to escape a dog he’s afraid of to a girl returning back to school after being out with sickle-cell disease, the stories are at times humorous, at times poignant, and at times powerful.In just under 200 pages, Reynolds tackles homophobia, parental illness, letting friends know they have hygiene issues, fear about a parent’s safety, and other heavy issues, yet he doesn’t do it in a heavy-handed way.This is the first middle-grade book I’ve read and I was impressed with Reynolds’ deft storytelling. This book didn’t quite click for me, however, but I did feel the balance between humor and seriousness that Reynolds tried to convey.This will be a good book for the middle-grade audience, as they may identify with one or more of the stories yet won’t feel singled out as they might if they read a whole book about a parent dying or bullying. Definitely one worth discussing with your children or your students.See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.Check out my list of the best books I read in 2018 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2018.html. You can follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
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  • Betsy
    January 1, 1970
    This review was going to begin like all the best reviews. With a new Jason Reynolds books falling from the sky. “Falling from the sky” is probably a bit hyperbolic, but that’s what it feels like whenever a new Reynolds hits the market. Now due to the focus required of my job, I couldn’t care less when Reynolds has written a new book for teens. As far as I’m concerned, books are best when written for the 0-14 crowd and anything that speaks to readers of more mature years is apocryphal. Untenable. This review was going to begin like all the best reviews. With a new Jason Reynolds books falling from the sky. “Falling from the sky” is probably a bit hyperbolic, but that’s what it feels like whenever a new Reynolds hits the market. Now due to the focus required of my job, I couldn’t care less when Reynolds has written a new book for teens. As far as I’m concerned, books are best when written for the 0-14 crowd and anything that speaks to readers of more mature years is apocryphal. Untenable. Untouchable. And I think Mr. Reynolds is still seen as primarily a YA author at this point. This, in spite of the fact that he’s written an entire series (beginning with Ghost) for middle grade readers, to say nothing of As Brave As You. So you can keep all that teen stuff. Hand me the Reynolds meant for the smaller fry. Now Look Both Ways isn’t baby fare, by any means. It’s probably accurate to call it straight up middle school/junior high fiction. That sad little neither-here-nor-there age range where you’ve too many hormones to pass as elementary, but not quite enough to slip unnoticed into a high school hallway. Nobody knows quite what to do with middle school books. Do you shelve them in the kid’s section of the library/bookstore or the YA section? Or do you give them their own section entirely? Well, good news. I know exactly what to do with this particular middle school book. You need to weigh it down with awards, so many that it can no longer stand under its own weight and is forced to stagger to the display front and center in the library where all the best books go. Then, and only then, will it have found its true home.One day. Ten stories. When you look at a group of kids tearing out of a school, what do you know about them? What do you assume? These kids all have their own problems, some big and some small. There’s the kid that won’t let go of his blue ball and needs a crazy piggyback ride from a massive friend just to navigate the halls. There’s the girl who’s always writing in her journal, no one ever knowing what it says. The kid terrified of dogs, who’s working out an escape plan in his brain. The pickpockets. The stinky romantics. The beaten and the yuksters and the one that’s clutching a little broom without even remembering it’s there. Ten stories. Not much room to tell what needs to be said, but by the end you’ll realize you wouldn’t have it any other way.Due to the nature of my chosen profession I read a lot of novels for kids. Let me let you in on a little trade secret: 80% of them? Very samey. I’m reading books that have garnered starred reviews from professional journals left and right, and half the time I’m bored out of my ever loving skull. 2019 has turned out to be a particularly dire year as well. The running gag amongst my librarians is that if the novel you’re reading doesn’t contain some long treatise on loss then check the publication date. You’re probably reading something from 2018. So you want to know the first reason I was looking forward to reading Reynolds’ latest? It wasn’t because it was by him, necessarily. No, it had a lot more to do with the sweet page size (208 and not a paper fiber more) to say nothing of the fact that ten stories equals a significant decrease in the likelihood that these would all be stories about dead parents. I cracked open the book and you know what the first story was about? Boogers! Right there I was officially in love. Then, as I read, I remembered something I’d forgotten. Jason Reynolds? That guy knows how to write. Knows how to go for the emotional jugular. Is aware that even the shortest, silliest story (and, let us be clear, this book begins with boogers and practically ends with a can’s worth of body spray) can work when you catch a reader off-guard with a quick, hard truth. Doggone it. This book is really good.Let us imagine for a moment that instead of reading this review you are instead attending a master class on writing, through the framework of Jason Reynolds’ books. I hand you Look Both Ways and ask you to consider some of the ways in which this book is better than better than average. We’ll begin at the beginning. Page two, to be precise. After an opening that, for the record, delivers what may well be the best line about snot in the whole history of children’s literature, we meet our two characters, Jasmine and TJ. Their story is all of fifteen pages long in total. That’s fifteen pages where Reynolds has the chance to flesh out their character traits and to nail down their personalities. Only he doesn’t take fifteen pages to do that. He takes two to three, and he does it by showing how they open their lockers. Here is how TJ opens his: “TJ spun the black lock dial confidently, like he could feel the difference in the grooves and would know when he landed on the right numbers.” Here is how Jasmine opens hers: “… Jasmine, unlike TJ, turned her lock with an intense concentration, glaring at it as if the combination could up and change at any second, or as if her fingers could stop working at any moment.” Consider that. Two sentences and you now know everything you may ever need to know to understand these characters. The beginning of a book is never a mic drop, but that comes close. Real real close.Ten stories means ten challenges. How do you organize your tales? How much variety can there be between them while still allowing them to feel like they’re part of the same book? They’re all told in the third person, though you do occasionally get a glimpse into a thought process here or there. Some are funny. Some are pretty serious, though none are dire (a trademark of children’s rather than YA literature). Death pops up but doesn’t stick around too long. In a particularly neat twist, because these stories all take place on the same day, characters and incidents that you saw earlier (like when our characters walk by “a cloud of body spray that smelled like cinnamon if cinnamon smelled like garlic”) pop up later, in context. Close readings and rereadings are rewarded amply here. But like any good writer Reynolds had to give this book some kind of overarching theme. Just saying it’s the same kids from the same school at the same time on the same day isn’t enough. So he threw in a reoccurring school bus falling from the sky. It’s subtle, but it’s works. When I grow up, I want to be able to write descriptions as well as Mr. Reynolds. I’m already older than he is, so this dream is running into a bit of an early snag. No matter. I will now proceed to write some of my favorite lines of this book, out of context, but you’ll still get a bit of the flavor:“Jasmine Jordon said this like she said most things – with her whole body. Like the words weren’t just coming out of her mouth but were also rolling down her spine.”“And Jasmine would laugh because his jokes were always funny even though she knew they were almost never jokes.”“The way they were – a braid of brilliance and bravado – concerned everyone.”“He tapped his wrist where there was no watch. Checked it like checking a pulse. A live one, for sure.” “There’s a feel in the air. A stickiness like walking through an invisible syrup. A thickness to life.” “Always smelled like incense smoke trying to mask dirty mop water.”I’m not being fair, taking all these lines out of context. Out of their pages where they glint. You know when you’re reading a book and you run across sentences that stands out, but not in a showy way, from all the others on the page. That little glinting is what these lines display. If you put them all back they’ll still work their magic and, what’s more, they’ll let you get to the best part of any Jason Reynolds story: the payoff at the end. I suspect he’d deny it, but Reynolds has figured out how to get kids to read. On his website, he says that kids who “hate” reading don’t hate books. They just hate reading boring books. Now I’m enough of a child myself to hate boring books too, so the short tales in this book were just my speed. And as I read, I realized that if I made it through a story, I’d get a little kick at the end. Sometimes it’s a kick that makes you want to cry. Other times, laugh. But whatever it does, it makes you feel, so you give in to it and keep reading story after story. For the kick. For the glint. For the feel.Jason Reynolds won’t do a number of things for the kids that read this book. He won’t give them hardened one-dimensional villains and heroes. He won’t hand them boring overdone tropes that they’ve encountered a hundred times before. He will completely fail to bore them to death. He won’t make them sorry they picked this book up. Heck, he won’t even write a chapter without slipping in some universal truth about humanity. So what will he do? He’ll make your kids want to be better writers. Even if they’ve never written a word in their lives. Especially then. And he’ll make you want to be a better person for those kids. The ones that disappear into the crowds and sometimes don’t even see one another. The ones that only an author can really see. A good one. A Jason Reynolds. For ages 10 an up.
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  • Julie Zantopoulos
    January 1, 1970
    Very consumable stories that are all hard-hitting, impactful, and essential for middle grade readers. However, it does cover some really intense topics like bullying, homophobia, parents with cancer, the death of siblings, etc. It covers these themes in age-appropriate ways and tastefully. It's diverse and beautifully written (uniquely written, too). I connected with some stories more than others but overall, this is a really great read for middle grade readers.
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  • Julia Sapphire
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this book at BEA, in exchange for an honest review. 2.5 stars I loved Reynolds previous book "Long Way Done", it was incredible and I was excited to read more work from him. When I saw "Look Both Ways" at BEA I was super excited to pick it up!! So this book is a middle-grade novel that is a "tale told in ten blocks". Such an interest concept! This showcases the lives of young kids, their neighborhoods and their friendships with others. Honestly, I was let down by this boo I received an ARC of this book at BEA, in exchange for an honest review. 2.5 stars I loved Reynolds previous book "Long Way Done", it was incredible and I was excited to read more work from him. When I saw "Look Both Ways" at BEA I was super excited to pick it up!! So this book is a middle-grade novel that is a "tale told in ten blocks". Such an interest concept! This showcases the lives of young kids, their neighborhoods and their friendships with others. Honestly, I was let down by this book in a lot of aspects. I expected there to be more of a powerful message or showing even more struggles that kids go through around this age, then there were. And messages and some issues they face are prevalent just not at the degree that I think they could have been. Though this book does mention some issues the children are facing. For example, things that are mentioned are cancer and homophobia. This is middle grade so I do not expect it to go too in depth with these issues but it was so lovely to see the way the children supported Bit's mom during chemo. I also liked how someone stuck up for one boy who kissed another boy. But it did not really have many discussions about that. Plus there was some bullying in regards to that part of the book as well. I feel like this will be a real hit or miss book for people. On one hand, it deals with some important issues, has nice writing, and fleshed out characters. On the other hand, I think it could have been a lot better. I think they could have been more substance to it or a deeper meaning. I also never felt attached to any of the characters and the story. I think maybe if the book was longer it would have felt more of a complete story. I felt like it ended when things could have just been getting started. Though I am not the target audience for this book, so I cannot speak on how a middle-grade audience will feel about it. There's a lot of talk about boogers and handshakes, so a lot of childish themes. I just think that if this was longer, I would have had more time to grow a connection to these characters and this story. I will be picking up more Jason Reynold books in the future. I am looking forward to seeing more people's thoughts on this book as we get closer to the release date and when it is released. Also interested to see how children enjoy this one.
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    Go into this one knowing it's a series of short stories linked together because all of the kids go to the same school. There are characters who cross over and reappear, but this isn't about how they intersection, necessarily. It's about how they share the same common ground but live such vastly different lives. It's a peek inside the bus windows, so to speak, as kids deal with a whole host of challenges at home and outside the home. What I really loved about this one is that these are such middl Go into this one knowing it's a series of short stories linked together because all of the kids go to the same school. There are characters who cross over and reappear, but this isn't about how they intersection, necessarily. It's about how they share the same common ground but live such vastly different lives. It's a peek inside the bus windows, so to speak, as kids deal with a whole host of challenges at home and outside the home. What I really loved about this one is that these are such middle school kids. Some are super mature and ready to take on the world. Others are just getting the chance to walk to school on their own and learning what it means when they rush and fall over. It's not my favorite Reynolds story, as I love the intensity of and plot of some of his other stories better. But this is a powerful addition to his catalog and one that will resonate with so many young readers.
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  • Sahitya
    January 1, 1970
    I’m somewhere between a 3 and a 3.5. I’ve always wanted to read a Jason Reynolds book because I’ve heard him speak on multiple occasions and he is amazing. So when this book was nominated for the National Book Award, I decided to give it a go without even checking out its premise.You may think that my rating is low but I assure you that there’s nothing wrong with the book. The writing style itself is wonderful and easy to read, and the different narrators for each of the stories in t I’m somewhere between a 3 and a 3.5. I’ve always wanted to read a Jason Reynolds book because I’ve heard him speak on multiple occasions and he is amazing. So when this book was nominated for the National Book Award, I decided to give it a go without even checking out its premise.You may think that my rating is low but I assure you that there’s nothing wrong with the book. The writing style itself is wonderful and easy to read, and the different narrators for each of the stories in the audiobook do their job beautifully. This is definitely one of those books whose experience is enriched in the audio format. The stories themselves are happy, sad, funny and everything in between; while also dealing with important topics like bullying, homophobia, death or cancer in the family etc in a simple and easy to understand manner. I didn’t realize this was a middle grade book until I was almost done with the first story, and that’s probably the main reason I couldn’t connect with it personally. To conclude, I think this book is a very good choice for young readers or anyone who is more accustomed to reading middle grade books (hence able to rate and review them more accurately). I think it might also be an interesting book to read along with your kids and help them understand the various issues that are talked about in it. And I would definitely recommend the audiobook because it’s narration is perfect.
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  • Traci at The Stacks
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book. Reynolds is so observant and his stories are so specific and subtle. Which is especially rare in work for young people. The characters are real and contain their own traumas without this being a book about trauma.
  • Rec-It Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    (i don't really like the way santiago's size is described as "two kids tall and two kids wide" because like...he is a kid. so he, by definition, is kid size...right?)
  • Leah
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely loved this book!!!
  • Michelle Stimpson
    January 1, 1970
    I liked all the stories in this book, but I LOVED the second story the most. And I loved how this book put me right back into the days when I walked home from school. I read it in a day. Couldn't put it down.
  • Debbie
    January 1, 1970
    Look Both Ways is ten stories of students in one school. Some of them know each other well and some just as acquaintances. There are bullies, and friends, and first loves. There are family dramas and just different kinds of families. This is a deftly written story for young people, about young people. Thank you to BEA and Simon and Schuster children’s publishing.
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  • Brent Gilson
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this story, or I guess the series of stories woven together. I loved each of the characters individually. Reynolds writes in a way that makes you want to get more of their story than just one chapter. Awesome book that I plan to buy multiple copies of.
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  • Melanie Dulaney
    January 1, 1970
    Both my library patrons and I really enjoy Jason Reynolds' "Track" series-Ghost, Lu, Sunny, et al and I like "Look Both Ways." My rating is a 4, but that makes it seem like I enjoyed it as much as the aforementioned series and I didn't. Mr. Reynolds' ability to weave diverse characters together using a neighborhood of very different streets and managing to get a bus falling from the sky throughout was impressive. His cast displayed a variety of social, family, and economic situations that felt v Both my library patrons and I really enjoy Jason Reynolds' "Track" series-Ghost, Lu, Sunny, et al and I like "Look Both Ways." My rating is a 4, but that makes it seem like I enjoyed it as much as the aforementioned series and I didn't. Mr. Reynolds' ability to weave diverse characters together using a neighborhood of very different streets and managing to get a bus falling from the sky throughout was impressive. His cast displayed a variety of social, family, and economic situations that felt very authentic to kids everywhere, but in this case, likely a inner-city setting. However, there were a few stand-out chapters, titled after the name of the street that each character lived on, that were not my cup of tea: The very first duo in the book spent an inordinate amount of time talking about boogers and nose wiping on sleeves and while some of my boys might really enjoy reading about nose slime, my stomach roiled. And then he closed out his book with a fabulous vignette about Canton and his fears over possibly losing his mom, but I almost didn't finish it because the chapter droned on a bit too long with metaphors about a school bus. The first 10 or 15 made me think and I appreciated the artistry in the author's use of figurative language, but after a while, I was over it. In between those two chapters, there was real depth in personality and I hope that readers of this book start to think about what it might be like to walk in the shoes of kids like these. Recommended for libraries serving grades 4-7, seeking to add ethnic and economic diversity to their collections, and those with a readership of books by Reynolds, Kwame Alexander, Jewell Parker Rhodes, and Christopher Paul Birmingham. Content of "Look Both Ways" was free of profanity, sexual references, and violence.
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  • Kristin
    January 1, 1970
    The craft of this is brilliant! Jason Reynolds has done it again!
  • Eileen
    January 1, 1970
    4 starsOkay, I wasn't so sure if I would like this book because I'm not as much a fan of short stories. And in truth, some of these short stories sort of left me hanging and wanting more. But I really liked the way Jason Reynolds told these little vignettes while connecting them with the school, bus, and journey home. While I was initially confused by some of the stories, as I continued, I started to see the connections and it made it more and more interesting as I went along. The la 4 starsOkay, I wasn't so sure if I would like this book because I'm not as much a fan of short stories. And in truth, some of these short stories sort of left me hanging and wanting more. But I really liked the way Jason Reynolds told these little vignettes while connecting them with the school, bus, and journey home. While I was initially confused by some of the stories, as I continued, I started to see the connections and it made it more and more interesting as I went along. The last one really tied it all together and gave me new eyes to see some of the earlier stories. I found myself empathizing in some places, tearing up in others, and giggling madly in still others. When this is fully released, I would love to hear the audiobook version of this (maybe read by Jason Reynolds himself?). His books tend to work very well in the audio format. I think this is a story that might be hit or miss for people, depending on what they're looking for, partly because it's short stories that are loosely connected, but the stories don't always feel fully fleshed out. But to me, I think it's sort of a glimpse of this neighborhood and the hopes and dreams of the different people. I very much enjoyed this book, but I would probably love it even more if there was more to it. If you're a fan of Jason Reynolds, I would recommend giving this a try.Special thanks to NetGalley, Jason Reynolds, and Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Darla
    January 1, 1970
    Ten stories told in ten blocks. Each story features a different student, but also includes glimpses of the other stories. I wish I had taken some notes with each story as the digital galley did not include a table of contents and navigating around was not easily done. Each story seeks to bring understanding and open a window to walking home in the shoes of another. The characters vary greatly in voice, but tell a story for middle grade. Would recommend having parents/teachers read along with kid Ten stories told in ten blocks. Each story features a different student, but also includes glimpses of the other stories. I wish I had taken some notes with each story as the digital galley did not include a table of contents and navigating around was not easily done. Each story seeks to bring understanding and open a window to walking home in the shoes of another. The characters vary greatly in voice, but tell a story for middle grade. Would recommend having parents/teachers read along with kids on this one as there are many issues touched on including cancer treatment, death, autism, behavior therapy, homosexuality, and economic disparities.Thank you to Simon and Schuster and NetGalley for a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an eARC of this title for review. All opinions are my own. I am a huge fan of Jason Reynolds, and this book was no exception. My only (small) complaint is that it is vignettes. While I loved them, and their compellingly/deceptively simple storylines, I really wanted them all to be their own book. I loved all of these characters and the short snippets I got to see of their lives didn't feel like enough for me. I wanted to be able to Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an eARC of this title for review. All opinions are my own. I am a huge fan of Jason Reynolds, and this book was no exception. My only (small) complaint is that it is vignettes. While I loved them, and their compellingly/deceptively simple storylines, I really wanted them all to be their own book. I loved all of these characters and the short snippets I got to see of their lives didn't feel like enough for me. I wanted to be able to spend more time with them all, to see what happened in the next 15 minutes, three days, two weeks of their lives. There was so much to them, and getting these flashes left me wanting so much more from them. BUT, the beauty of the vignettes was their interconnectedness. All of the characters interacted in the same plane-they were all leaving or going to the same school, walking the same paths, seeing the same sights. And no two of them saw it the same way. Highly recommend this for Jason Reynolds fans, readers who like realistic fiction, and those emerging readers who want something meaty without being overwhelmed by a long storyline. Definitely a first purchase for most middle school and YA collections. Recommended for grades 7-12.
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  • Vicki
    January 1, 1970
    This book does a lot of work to survey an inter-connected community of young people who are (generally) just trying to get home from school. Jason Reynolds is the literal KING of voice, mastering a wide swath of young people who are facing very Real Problems; despite some of the hard topics explored (including homophobia, death, and disease), this book is joyful and funny, a great example of why Reynolds is such an impactful and wide-ranging writer. This book deserves all the awards it will get. This book does a lot of work to survey an inter-connected community of young people who are (generally) just trying to get home from school. Jason Reynolds is the literal KING of voice, mastering a wide swath of young people who are facing very Real Problems; despite some of the hard topics explored (including homophobia, death, and disease), this book is joyful and funny, a great example of why Reynolds is such an impactful and wide-ranging writer. This book deserves all the awards it will get. I loved it.
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  • Cathy
    January 1, 1970
    This one reminds readers of the innocence and challenges that are experienced by youngsters today. It is a story about friendships, memories, good times, bad times. It's about fears, hopes, anxieties, comedies and tragedies. It's about life and how at some intersections, or at some corner, we are connected by our community no matter how many blocks it may be.
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  • Shauna Yusko
    January 1, 1970
    I laughed (Grease Fire), I cried (The Low Cuts!!!).For the middle schoolers, for the Jason Reynolds fans, for the writing teachers, and more.
  • Hope
    January 1, 1970
    My guy never disappoints. The way he can take everyday life and turn it into these powerful little punches of a story (this book is 10 stories, all connected in subtle ways, as kids walk home from school), just a pure pleasure to read every time.
  • Lisa Welch
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this one, but I think adults will appreciate the concept of the book more than the intended audience.
  • Emily Gilbow
    January 1, 1970
    This was such an interesting read! I love the way Jason Reynolds tells a story and the way he was able to weave ten stories together with this novel.
  • Jenni
    January 1, 1970
    Several stories blend together to tell rhe stories of kids at Latimer Middle School. I liked the way each story tied together with the next one.
  • Stephanie Bange
    January 1, 1970
    Jason Reynolds has done it again -- explored a literary genre (short stories) and made the form not only relevant, but necessary, for today's young readers.Set on the same day at Latimer Middle School just as the school is ending, readers learn more about what makes a handful of students tick as they walk home from school in these ten short stories. (The book is subtitled "A Tale Told in Ten Blocks"). These kids head home and deal with a myriad of problems such as a family member or Jason Reynolds has done it again -- explored a literary genre (short stories) and made the form not only relevant, but necessary, for today's young readers.Set on the same day at Latimer Middle School just as the school is ending, readers learn more about what makes a handful of students tick as they walk home from school in these ten short stories. (The book is subtitled "A Tale Told in Ten Blocks"). These kids head home and deal with a myriad of problems such as a family member or friend with cancer, injured while working, in prison, being abused, or death of a loved one. Or they deal with their own personal issues like chronic disease, insecurity, a traumatic experience, poverty, bullies, or taking ownership of their own inadequacies. These kids lean on trusted friends and adults, family, or an eccentric for solace, strength, compassion, and understanding. Reynolds foreshadows problems of some characters and clarifies relationships between others in the book as he weaves them into other stories in the book. For example, after the school bell rings, the benches outside the school are filled with a boy with a broken skateboard, Greg Pitts and his friends, and a group called the Low Cuts. Readers will see how the characters relate to several of their teachers and other school staff members in many stories.Like every well-told short story, there is not much detailed description. It is the actions and thoughts of the characters that convey their feelings and motivation and move the story forward. While each short story can stand on its own, there is a great power in reading them together in this collection. Readers will realize a deeper understanding of these young people by putting together the pieces of this giant puzzle. Never maudlin, this book is filled with heart, humor and honesty, and will tug at your heartstrings. It is one book that will stick with you and make you think about and care about these kids long after you have finished reading about them.Highly Recommended for grades 4-8.
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  • Amber K.
    January 1, 1970
    I loved the short story concept in this book and how they all slightly tied together! I think this would be fun to use in reading groups or book talk it by reading one of the short stories then raffle for who gets to read it first. This is definitely a must have this fall for grades 4 and up!
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  • Fanna
    January 1, 1970
    Ten stories. One school. Each one of them was so honest. The collection is so diverse. Full review to follow. So excited to listen to this one! Thanks to Libro.fm's ALC program and Simon & Schuster.
  • Library_boyfriend
    January 1, 1970
    3.5A lovely compilation of short stories of characters directly or indirectly connected to each other by living in the same neighborhood. The characters were humorous and endearing and brave.
  • Alexa L
    January 1, 1970
    It will come as no surprise that Jason Reynolds’ newest book is pure gold. Can’t wait for this one to come out in the fall. Honestly don’t know if I’ll ever stop thinking about the ice cream story.
  • Sabrina
    January 1, 1970
    Look Both Ways is told in 10 short stories featuring kids all around a 10 block radius. Most of the stories happen after the school bells rings at the end of the day. Each of the stories cover a problem that a kid could likely face, or at least relate too. The stories flow really well into each other, and you finish the book without even realizing you were so close to the end.
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