Patina: Track, Book 2

Book review by
Terreece Clarke, Common Sense Media
Patina: Track, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Girl learns teamwork on track, at home in engaging sequel.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows the importance of teamwork and how it affects many areas of life. Lays out the mechanics of learning how to run a relay race with a baton, which many kids may not know much about if they've never raced.

Positive Messages

Positive messages about family, being a team, and conflict resolution. It's best if each person in a conflict can listen to the other person to better understand each other's needs and perspective. Talking it out is better than yelling and insulting each other. It's good to clear the air and work out solutions within your peer group. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Patty is a great role model, living up to and oftentimes surpassing the expectations placed on her. Even though the pressure to perform at school, on the track (where she's a leader), and at home (where she takes care of her little sister while she keeps up an upbeat attitude for her sick mother and adoptive family's sake) is immense, she manages to stay composed until it becomes too much. Then she takes steps to better cope with the pressure and rely on her "team." She even learns how to not let losing a race affect her support for the team. Patty's coaches, mother, and adoptive parents allow enough distance for Patty to work out issues on her own, but step in with valuable life lessons and support when she needs them. They're also willing to admit fault and flaws, making them and their advice realistic and grounded in experience.

Violence

Two girls get into a large verbal altercation and are physically separated.

Sex

Typical boy-girl middle school affections and flirting.

Language

Mild name-calling and insults, such as "liar," "stupid," "bad breath."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Patina, by New York Times best-selling author Jason Reynolds, is the sequel to Ghost, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. It tells the story of track star Patina, known as Patty, who struggles to maintain excellence in her sport while at the same time struggling with family issues at home. The story deals with adoption, race and class, grief at the loss of a parent, diabetes and dialysis, friendship, and fitting in at a new school. Parents should be prepared to talk about different types of families and support, coping with pressure, and the valuable lessons found in teamwork.

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What's the story?

PATINA is the fastest girl on the Defenders track team. She doesn't like to lose -- ever -- and she works really hard to make sure she doesn't. The thing is, Patty has lost a lot of things already: Her father died, and her mother lost her legs to diabetes, so she and her sister have to live with her uncle and aunt because their mom can't care for them anymore. She also lost her old friends when she went to a new school. Losing on the track is not an option, but then the unthinkable happens: She comes in second place. And Coach decides she should be on a relay team as the anchor. Now, not only does she have to keep up the perfect Patty routine everywhere, she also has to run the hardest part of the relay and rely on someone else to help her win. Not cool. The pressure is intense and she's barely holding on. Can she finish strong, or will life leave her in the dust?

Is it any good?

Solid storytelling and compelling action combines with well-rounded and lovable characters to make Patina, the second book in Jason Reynolds' Track series, a winner. Readers will readily identify with Patty as she tries to juggle all the responsibilities of school, family, and sports and the worries and grief that keep her running. They will also recognize the internal pressure kids put on themselves to take on adult-level responsibilities and to always be "fine."

Parents and teachers will love how Reynolds incorporates solid conflict resolution strategies and uses the concept of a relay race as a model of teamwork on the track and in families.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Patina shows different types of families and their circle of caregivers. Patty lives with her uncle and his wife because her mom is sick. What makes a family? How do the caregivers in your life work together?

  • What does Patty learn about how to work with a team? Do you have examples of when working on a team worked well and when it didn't? What lessons did you take away from the experience?

  • Do you play a sport? How do your team, family, and fans react to wins and losses? How does that make you feel? How big is the pressure to compete well? Does it ever feel like it's too much?

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For kids who love sports and strong girls

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