Look Both Ways

by Jason Reynolds Year Published: 2019

This quick read is a Corretta Scott King award winner, and rightfully so.

The book is set up at a group of 10 interconnected short stories, each focusing on a person or a group of people all leaving school at the end of the day. Each story shows the diversity of worry, trauma, happiness, fear, caring...the gammit...that a young person feels as they leave their last class of the day.

The stories do have brief glimpses of characters from other stories, but the people focused on are not friends with the people from the other stories, and even if you didn't pick up on the overlap, it wouldn't matter. It's not important to the understanding of the story.

Reynolds is masterful. He truly understands the mind of a young person and captures their voices in such an authentic way. Fatima, who I suspect is on the autism spectrum, is a character I haven't seen Reynolds depict before, but he captures her with such respect that she is just her. Perhaps she is a person living with autism, perhaps not. She's just her, and that's good enough.

That's how Reynolds depicts all of his characters. They are people, and they deserve our love and attention for that fact only.