(Book #2 of Track)
For Ages: 10 - 99
  • 10
A New York Times Notable Children’s Book

A newbie to the track team, Patina must learn to rely on her teammates as she tries to outrun her personal demons in this follow-up to the National Book Award finalist Ghost by New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds.

Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team—a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves.

Patina, or Patty, runs like a flash. She runs for many reasons—to escape the taunts from the kids at the fancy-schmancy new school she’s been sent to since she and her little sister had to stop living with their mom. She runs from the reason WHY she’s not able to live with her “real” mom any more: her mom has The Sugar, and Patty is terrified that the disease that took her mom’s legs will one day take her away forever. So Patty’s also running for her mom, who can’t. But can you ever really run away from any of this? As the stress builds up, it’s building up a pretty bad attitude as well. Coach won’t tolerate bad attitude. No day, no way. And now he wants Patty to run relay…where you have to depend on other people? How’s she going to do THAT?
  • Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books | 
  • 240 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781481450188 | 
  • August 2017 | 
  • Grades 5 and up | 
  • Lexile ® Y
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Read an Excerpt

Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide to


By Jason Reynolds

About the Book

Patina “Patty” Jones may be a newbie on the Defenders track team, but she is determined to be the best. Her mother always tells her that “she ain’t no junk.” Still, Patty’s been through her share of problems, from her father’s sudden death to her mother’s battle with diabetes. When complications from the disease cause her mother to lose her legs, Patty and her little sister Maddy move in with Uncle Tony and Aunt Emily. Now Patty is living in a different house, attending a fancy new school filled with rich kids, and trying to be a good example for Maddy. Patty has gotten used to taking care of things herself and not depending on anyone else, but after Coach puts her on a relay and her teacher assigns a group project with the snobbiest hair flippers of all, she learns that the only way to win is to come together as a team.

Discussion Questions

1. Do you think Patty was right to be upset about coming in second in her first race with the Defenders? What does her response to the second-place finish reveal about her personality?

2. Why do Maddy and Patina need to live with Momly and Uncle Tony? How is life different than it was in her old house in Barnaby Terrace?

3. Why did Patty start running track? Toward the end of the book, she says that running helps her by givin see more

More Books from this Author

For Every One
Long Way Down

About the Author

Jason Reynolds
Ben Fractenberg

Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds is a New York Times bestselling author, a Newbery Award Honoree, a Printz Award Honoree, National Book Award Honoree, a Kirkus Award winner, a two time Walter Dean Myers Award winner, an NAACP Image Award Winner, and the recipient of multiple Coretta Scott King honors. The American Booksellers Association’s 2017 spokesperson for Indies First, his many books include When I Was the Greatest, Boy in the Black SuitAll American Boys (cowritten with Brendan Kiely), As Brave as You, For Every One, the Track series (GhostPatinaSunny, and Lu), and Long Way Down, which received both a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor. He lives in Washington, DC. You can find his ramblings at