PATINA by Jason Reynolds

The story continues for the CYBIL’s Middle Grade Fiction winning entry from last year, GHOST. It ended with Ghost running in his first big race. In this unique series, the baton is now passed onto Patina “Patty ” Jones, another member of the elite track team. She takes over the narration and her story is every bit as heartbreaking.

Sure, this is about running, but it’s also about the struggles children often have when their family situation bring challenges. For Patina, it’s the loss of her father, her mother’s battle with diabetes, and living with an aunt and uncle. She’s full of conflict, both in protecting her younger sister Maddy and in the new challenges facing her. This story continues the pattern of ending each book in the series with a race. Again we’ll have to wait for the results until the next young track star takes over the narration in book #3. There are plenty to choose from with 17 others on this track team.It’s not necessary to have read GHOST before reading this one, but you’ll feel cheated if you don’t.

Patina is heartfelt, gutsy, and downright true to life.



A newbie to the track team, Patina must learn to rely on her teammates as she tries to outrun her personal demons in this follow-up to the National Book Award finalist Ghost by New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds.

Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team—a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves.

Patina, or Patty, runs like a flash. She runs for many reasons—to escape the taunts from the kids at the fancy-schmancy new school she’s been sent to since she and her little sister had to stop living with their mom. She runs from the reason WHY she’s not able to live with her “real” mom any more: her mom has The Sugar, and Patty is terrified that the disease that took her mom’s legs will one day take her away forever. So Patty’s also running for her mom, who can’t. But can you ever really run away from any of this? As the stress builds up, it’s building up a pretty bad attitude as well. Coach won’t tolerate bad attitude. No day, no way. And now he wants Patty to run relay…where you have to depend on other people? How’s she going to do THAT?


  1. The cafeteria and project sessions with other girls at Patina’s school were a reminder of how much kids are influenced by the actions of others.
  2. So many times I stopped and reread a few lines that were written so beautifully… I just needed to spend an extra minute with perfection.
  3. The character arc for Patina is one that should be studied by every budding author. She transforms and it’s an enjoyable ride.
  4. This world needs more people like Patina’s aunt and uncle. They are there to help when a relative is in need. I’d welcome them as my neighbors.
  5. I never thought of running a relay as a waltz, but all runners who have to pass the baton might benefit from reading the coach’s unique tactic.

FAVORITE LINES: And as we moved through town, the numbers continued to climb as the neighborhoods changed. From mansions to weird cereal-box communities, where every house looks like a different of the one next to it. Then on to older neighborhoods like mine, where the houses are still nice, but have been around for awhile, so still made of brick. My address has three numbers, 685 Wallery Street. but Ma’s address, over in Barnaby Terrace, has four—5014. And I think Ghost’s is something like five or six. It’s like the less numbers in your bank account, the more numbers in your address.

After earning a BA in English from The University of Maryland, College Park, he moved to Brooklyn, New York, where you can often find him walking the four blocks from the train to his apartment talking to himself. Well, not really talking to himself, but just repeating character names and plot lines he thought of on the train, over and over again, because he’s afraid he’ll forget it all before he gets home.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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4 Responses to PATINA by Jason Reynolds

  1. I never read GHOST and need to. But, I like the important real-life themes shared because many kids will identify with Patima’s problems. Thank goodness for loving relatives who come to the rescue.

  2. Kathleen says:

    I’ve been waiting for book 2 in this series. 😊

  3. I haven’t read the first book in the series. These sound really good. I will be looking for them. Thanks for the post.

  4. Steps On Purpose says:

    My son loved Ghost and wanted to see who won the race, now he is reading Patina.

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