When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds
This Brooklyn, New York writer really knows how to take readers into the mind of a teenager boy living in Brooklyn who is trying his best to stay out of the troubles that sometimes seem to overwhelm his neighborhood.. This short, fast-paced book is told from the perspective of Ali, who lives in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, which used to be full of crime but is slowly becoming gentrified. He lives with his over-worked mom and little sister Jazz, and hangs out with his best friend Noodles and his brother Needles. Needles has some type of syndrome, but is much calmer since Ali’s mom taught him to knit in order to focus his energy. But Noodles is always on the prowl and gets them invited to an exclusive, adult-only party thrown by the block’s high roller named MoMo. Can I just say a random misunderstanding has disastrous result!
I totally loved this book. It’s definitely Urban Drama, but the main characters are trying to stay clean and all three have memorable and realistic personalities. I would highly recommend this to all teen readers, especially those who love Urban Drama. This is Reynolds first book but we also have his second one, The Boy in the Black Suit.