Patina and Maddy's father died six years ago. Maddy, "all fidgety in Ma's stomach" at the time of his death, never knew him. And she doesn't remember how their Ma's diabetes made her lose first a few toes, then a whole foot and finally both legs. But middle school-aged Patina remembers it all: how her dad "never woke up. Like... ever."; how Ma's legs got "swollen and dark like she'd been standing in coal" before they were amputated. Now living with their father's brother, Uncle Tony, and his white wife, Mama Emily (whom the girls call Momly), Patty has "swallowed it all" and learned to act like she's okay.

Living with Uncle Tony and Momly is "fine" and Ma sees the girls every chance she gets, but Patina has never really been given the chance to mourn the loss of her father, the almost loss of her mother. And now she's trying to make a place for herself on the track team of her brand-new school, a place with "a whole bunch of rich girls whose daddies own stuff." She's defensive and angry but mainly afraid--afraid to be herself, afraid she's not good enough, afraid she'll lose someone else.

Patina, Jason Reynolds's second book in his Track series, has the titular character interacting with and befriending the cast of characters from Ghost while maintaining a stand-alone story. It is simply impossible to not love Patina. She is, as she states of herself, "No junk. Frida [Kahlo] in a suit. Mary J. Blige in track shoes." Charming, hardworking and a dedicated sister, runner and student, Patina is a sympathetic and wholly sympathetic character who finds her own peace by learning to work with others. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

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