In As Brave As You, brothers Genie and Ernie don’t expect to have such an exciting summer after their parents tell them they’ll be spending it in the South with grandparents they barely know. But even though there are stricter rules and no Wi-Fi, this vacation is probably the best one of their lives.
This award-winning book is about family, love, and courage. It’s also about accepting differences and adapting to change.
Genie and Ernie have to experience farm life when they pick peas to sell at a market instead of just buying them at the store. But not only do they experience southern life, they make friends and survive the trip with some surprises along the way.
When I was reading the book, I felt like I was in Virginia with the characters. For example, when Ernie’s teeth got knocked out, I could imagine the teeth floating in the jar of milk and him groaning on the couch.
The author conveyed many feelings in the story, like sadness and excitement. There were times when I felt like yelling at the book, or times when I wanted to jump for joy. Also, I really loved the character of Genie. He loves asking questions, like me.
Genie loves questions. In fact, he has hundreds of them in his notebook. So, when he realizes his Grandpop is blind, and learns more about his grandfather’s past, Genie finds an unexpected connection. They have fun together, eating entire apples (including the core!!) and sneaking outside in the dark. But after Grandpop confesses his deepest secrets, he thinks of some questions not even Google can answer, like why his dad won’t speak to Grandpop, and why Grandpop carries a gun in his pocket. Genie digs deeper to find the answer to these questions, but more importantly, finds the true meaning of bravery.
Genie sees Grandpop do everyday things with confidence even though he is blind. Genie also thinks Ernie is brave because he’s older and is the first one to do things.
I would recommend As Brave As You to readers ages 10 and up. Some readers may not like that it slow moving, but I liked it because it had very good messages and a lot of interesting and funny passages. This book has some concepts that younger kids may not understand, like death and self-defense. It’s also good for book clubs!
I like author Jason Reynolds’ other books too. Here’s my review of Patina, another awesome story he wrote.
As Brave as You was really great! I rate it four out of four roses!
Elena is a middle school student who reviews diverse children’s books on her blog, Elena Reads. She would like to be an author one day. She usually has her nose in a book, but she has many other interests. She runs cross country, is currently rehearsing for her role as Peter Pan in the upcoming school musical, and plays piano and violin.