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When I Was the Greatest - Jason Reynolds, Michael Frost

Hello, my name is Maddie Deem, and I enjoy reading books, but more specifically reading realistic fiction. I am currently reading the book When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds because of its genre, but also because I just read one of his other books Long Way Down, and it has become one of my favorites. I loved Jason Reynolds writing style in the first book I read, and so far I love it in When I Was the Greatest as well.


So far When I Was the Greatest is about a boy named Ali growing up in a rough community or neighborhood. This neighborhood is filled with things such as guns and drugs that Ali doesn’t mess with or care for. He may not be into those types of things, but just by living in this neighborhood he is given a label. This label creates many misunderstandings and struggles through his life that he can’t escape from. His friend Noodles, however, is the complete opposite of Ali and is always looking for trouble. Noodles may be the one making mistakes, but somehow Ali is always the one fixing the problems or picking up the pieces. This makes me wonder if later on in the book Ali breaks away from Noodles because of this almost toxic friendship, or if he sticks by his side and pays the price for his friend. Along with this, I wonder if Noodles even realized what he is doing to Ali and how he feels about all of this. Maybe if he knew what he was doing he would put a stop to it, but then again maybe he wouldn’t even care. I can’t wait to continue reading When I Was the Greatest and keep you posted on this friendship, hopefully many things will change for the better as the book goes on.