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Sunny (3) (Track) Hardcover – April 10, 2018
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From the Publisher
Sunny is one of the best runners you have ever seen. But the problem, see, is that he doesn’t want to run. His mother was a runner, and after she died giving birth to him, his father Darryl decided that Sunny would run to carry on the legacy. But if you carry anything long enough, you begin to stagger under its weight. What Sunny really wants to do is dance. He and his home-school teacher—a colored-haired, tattooed woman named Aurelia—dance for the cancer ward patrons at a local hospital. Coach even lets him quit running and starts giving him one-on-one discus lessons, which feels a lot like dancing. But Darryl thinks Sunny is betraying his mother’s memory. Reynolds again uses his entrancing grasp of voice to pull readers into the heartbreaking world of the Track series. Sunny’s voice is deliberately more scattered and onomatopoetic than the series’ prior narrators, and there’s a musicality to the text, with words like “tickboom” and “hunger-growl.“ As with Ghost (2016)and Patina (2017), this book functions equally well as a standalone—in this case, a boy with rhythm flowing deeply through his bones—while also continuing to deepen the world of this inner-city middle-school track team. This series continues to provide beautiful opportunities for discussion about viewpoint, privilege, loss, diversity of experience, and exactly how much we don’t know about those around us. — Becca Worthington -- Booklist *STARRED REVIEW*, May 1, 2018
Sunny is deeply dissatisfied with his performance on the Defenders track team. He always wins, nobody cares much about the mile race until its closing seconds, and besides, he’d rather dance. Aurelia, the dear friend of Sunny’s deceased mother, recognizes this as she homeschools him, and she knows how rhythm, rhyme, grief, and misplaced guilt (his mother died giving birth to him) fill his mind and spill out in his movements. Darryl, Sunny’s father, doesn’t get it, though, and he’s completely thrown off when Sunny just stops in the middle of a race—to let someone else win for a change and to send out a cri de coeur. Coach then suggests he take a break from the mile and try discus throw, a field event whose graceful, disciplined spin and release might better suit Sunny. Book Three of Reynolds’ Track series, with its focus on individual players and their personal struggles, does not disappoint. Fans will settle easily into the balance between field action, teammate interrelationships, Coach’s understated but effective methodology, and the open-ended conclusion underscoring the message that win/loss is less important in these players’ lives than camaraderie and family reconciliation. -- BCCB, June 2018
As in Reynolds’s two previous novels in the Track series (Ghost, rev. 11/16; Patina, rev. 11/17), sports aren’t really the point here—certainly not for Sunny, the team’s best miler, who decides, just as he’s about to win a race, that he doesn’t want to be a runner and, in fact, never did. Coach’s subsequent suggestion that he take up the discus instead is cannily reflected in the novel’s structure, a series of diary entries that each spin around another incident or memory, cumulatively revealing the tragic origins of Sunny’s track career. The incantatory leanings of the prose sometimes tend toward repetitiveness, but the slow build of the story allows Sunny’s strengths and vulnerabilities to gain him a place in our hearts. When he finally throws the discus in competition—on the last page, no less—we are completely with him. -- Horn Book Magazine, July/August 2018
About the Author
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Sunny lost his mother at birth and he’s always considered himself in debt to her. He runs for her honor and he’s great at it, except it’s not what his heart wants.
Sunny has a difficult relationship with his father and the distance between them is one of the main subjects of the diary entries that make up this book.
Sunny speaks to “Diary” as if it’s a person...sometimes his mother and sometimes his father and sometime neither...but it’s so touching and transformational.
This one was the worst so far. It's such a shame because I was really looking forward to Sunny's story. He was always one of my favorite characters, and I had such high hopes.
It was written in "Dear Diary" style, and unfortunately, I found Sunny's narrative voice to be very annoying. And all those sounds "boom, tish, rrrah, bla", I just couldn't take it.
The story would have been so much more touching and emotionally charged had it been written in verse form or regular narrative, but all these diary entries were...kind of lame.
There were a few gems in there, and that doesn't surprise me because I know what Jason Reynolds is capable of. I give it a 2 stars, because I'm biased and I love Reynolds. But in truth, I'm not sure it deserves more than a star.