by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Reggie is just trying to do the right thing and stay under the radar. After an unfortunate incident at the beginning of school, he’s REALLY trying to keep a low profile to prevent the ridicule and torture of his fellow classmates. But a few things seem to happen at once: his youth group starts volunteering at a local homeless shelter and he connects to George, one of the men who live there; he becomes a Big Brother to Charlie, who needs a little help to overcome some fears of his own and the race for class president is reopened. All of these things boil to a head and Reggie, with the help of his best friends Ruthie and Joe C., might need to overcome his need to hide and emerge as a leader in the community.
It should come as no surprise that I adored Ruthie, with her in-your-face protests and reality checks. Thinking about it, I actually adored everything about Ruthie’s storyline. (except maybe the ending. At the beginning I was pulling for that ending, but by the end I think there was some chemistry lacking? Not sure. Anyway…) Ruthie is her own woman and stands up for what she believes – but still has teenage girl moments. Flawed perfection.
While I did appreciate the portrayal of persistence, hope and goodwill from Reggie, I struggled a bit throughout the book because those traits occasionally felt a bit forced. I also am unsure if I like the way the George storyline ended – or rather dropped off. In reality, that was a very likely ending (which I appreciate), but as a reader it is always hard to not have some closure. (Obviously, though, Reggie felt the same. So, yeah, unsure.)
While I did have some grievances with this one, I think the overall message of standing up for what’s good and right in your community is both an important one to display in books. And Ruthie kicked ass. Just sayin’.
p.s. best author name EVER.
p.p.s. I had to check three times that I spelled it right.
Read for Nerds Heart YA 2nd Round Judging