For Every One by Jason Reynolds is my first attempt at this young adult author. I have not read his novels, which are getting much praise and press, but I found this one and thought “Why not?” Unfortunately, I was surprised at the content as it did not fit what I expected. Fortunately, I was surprised at the content because it gave me something else.
This book is not poems as I first thought. But one long poem. But then again, it is not a poem. It is a letter. A letter to Reynolds younger self. To his future self. And to his present self. It is a letter to people of all ages no matter if it is your present or future self. These 112 pages are a commencement speech. It is a book you give to a graduate of high school or college. Or given to someone who is having a hard time of things. It is something you read, keep and purchase copies to give to people.
But at no time is it a novel. Or poems. Or even a traditional letter.
Why I was disappointed is I was looking for poems or a prose poetry novel. Why I was pleasantly surprised was because there are pages that have nuggets of wisdom that I related to. I do not think I would have been able to read this if it was in essay format (because in the end that is (for lack of a better term) an essay). Therefore, this poetic letter format works well.
I was going to give my readers copy back to the shelves of reader copies for others to read. But I do want to reread it before I do that. And I rarely reread books that are not traditional novels or picture books.