Title: Sunny (Track #3)
Author: Jason Reynolds
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Release Date: April 10, 2018
Sunny tries to shine despite his troubled past in this third novel in the critically acclaimed Track series from National Book Award finalist Jason Reynolds.
Ghost. Patina. Sunny. Lu. 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. They all have a lot of lose, but they all have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves. Sunny is the main character in this novel, the third of four books in Jason Reynold’s electrifying middle grade series.
Sunny is just that—sunny. Always ready with a goofy smile and something nice to say, Sunny is the chillest dude on the Defenders team. But Sunny’s life hasn’t always been sun beamy-bright. You see, Sunny is a murderer. Or at least he thinks of himself that way. His mother died giving birth to him, and based on how Sunny’s dad treats him—ignoring him, making Sunny call him Darryl, never “Dad”—it’s no wonder Sunny thinks he’s to blame. It seems the only thing Sunny can do right in his dad’s eyes is win first place ribbons running the mile, just like his mom did. But Sunny doesn’t like running, never has. So he stops. Right in the middle of a race.
With his relationship with his dad now worse than ever, the last thing Sunny wants to do is leave the other newbies—his only friends—behind. But you can’t be on a track team and not run. So Coach asks Sunny what he wants to do. Sunny’s answer? Dance. Yes, dance. But you also can’t be on a track team and dance. Then, in a stroke of genius only Jason Reynolds can conceive, Sunny discovers a track event that encompasses the hard hits of hip-hop, the precision of ballet, and the showmanship of dance as a whole: the discus throw. As Sunny practices the discus, learning when to let go at just the right time, he’ll let go of everything that’s been eating him up inside, perhaps just in time.
This is another great story in the Track series.
This book has a different form from the other two books. Sunny tells his story through his diary entries (and yes, it is a diary, not a journal. He makes that clear at the beginning). He speaks directly to his diary about what is going on in his life, so it seems like he’s speaking directly to the reader.
Like all of the main characters in this series, Sunny has a unique family situation. He lives with his father, who he calls by his first name, Darryl. Sunny’s mother died while giving birth to him. Darryl has always felt like Sunny should take his mother’s place, because he replaced her in the world, so he made Sunny follow his mother’s dream of running. But the problem is that running was what Sunny’s mother dreamed of doing, not Sunny. In this story, Sunny has to embrace his own dream of dancing, and with the help of Coach he discovers a way to bring dance into his track life.
I loved this story! I can’t wait to read the next one!