A Kirkus Award FinalistA Schneider Family Book Award WinnerA Coretta Scott King Author Honor BookAn ALA Notable Books for Children NomineeGenie and his brother, Ernie, leave Brooklyn for the first time to spend the summer with their grandparents in Virginia -- in the country! When he figures out that Grandpop is blind, Genie thinks he's the bravest guy ever. But he never leaves the house. Then Ernie won't learn how to shoot. Is bravery only about proving something? What about owning up to what you won't do?
"*Starred Review* Reynolds' first foray into middle-grade fiction follows the path of other stellar writers like Christopher Paul Curtis and Rita Williams-Garcia, who have brought their young protagonists home to meet the family. Our narrator is 11-year-old Genie, a worrier from Brooklyn who's headed, along with his older brother, Ernie, to his grandparents' home in backwoods Virginia. There's culture shock aplenty (no Internet, no TV), plus the more visceral earthquake of learning Grandpop is blind. And the aftershocks keep coming: Grandpop carries a gun. Genie's notebook of questions a wonderful literary technique opens wide this thoroughly realistic narrator's world of concerns and brings readers closer to him. The story's richness comes in part from its evocative descriptions of place, with every sense invited to the party. Readers don't just see the dog poop that covers the yard; they feel the weight of it as the brothers shovel it into the woods and can smell it all over the boys. But it is the intricate lacing of relationships that makes this so remarkable. There are second-, even third-generation problems being worked out between fathers and sons. A Jim Crow history has had a hand in shaping the issues, but there are also personal trials, hurt, and despair that hinder resolution. Yet through his inquisitive young protagonist, Reynolds movingly shows that although sometimes love hides, it still abides. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Reynolds comes off the one-two punch of the 2015 award winners The Boy in the Black Suit and All American Boys as a newly branded kidlit superstar.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2016 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Reynolds (All American Boys) aims for a younger audience with the story of Genie and Ernie, two Brooklyn boys spending a month with their grandparents in North Hill, Va., while their parents try to mend a frayed marriage. Eleven-year-old Genie is most concerned about the lack of Internet access: how will he look up answers to the questions that constantly come to him? Ernie, nearly 14, is happy enough when he meets Tess, a neighbor who gives them the lowdown on North Hill, but neither brother has any idea that their stay will involve picking peas in the hot sun and, for Genie, keeping secrets-both his and those of his blind grandfather. Genie's efforts to fix his mistakes (including accidentally killing one of his grandfather's beloved birds), his realization that the Web doesn't have all the answers, and Grandpop's struggle with guilt and forgiveness after he pushes Ernie to participate in a dangerous family tradition create a multifaceted story that skillfully blends light and dark elements while showing children and adults interacting believably and imperfectly. Ages 10-up. Agent: Elena Giovanazzo, Pippin Properties. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."