76 pages 2 hours read

Jason Reynolds

As Brave As You

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2016

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Important Quotes

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“Grandma was the one who put Ernie and Genie on poop patrol in the first place, in case you were wondering. Neither one of them had ever had to shovel poop out of anybody’s yard before, because first of all, in Brooklyn, most people don’t have yards. And secondly, most Brooklyn folks just pick it up with plastic Baggies whenever a dog does his doo on the sidewalk. Not everybody, but the majority. But there were no sidewalks here in North Hill, Virginia. No brownstones with the cement stoops where you could watch the buses, ice cream trucks, and taxis ride by. Nope. North Hill, Virginia was country. Like country country.” 

(Chapter 1, Page 6)

The boys notice many differences between Brooklyn and Virginia while they get oriented to staying with their grandparents: The contrast between the two settings characterizes the story. Here, Genie mostly marks absences: no sidewalks, no brownstones, no traffic, and no pet cleanup baggies. This part of Virginia is so foreign to Genie, it’s a more “country” version of the countryside. 

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“We weren’t trying to keep anything from you…It’s just that he made me promise a long time ago never to tell anyone he was blind. No one. Not even you two. It’s something he likes to do himself after he’s met the person. That way they don’t just come into his house thinking of him as, well, handicapped.” 

(Chapter 2, Page 34)

Brooke’s pride and desire for self-definition dictates how he relates to the world. Rather than being perceived as “handicapped” and therefore weak or lacking in some way, he wants people to get to know him on his own terms. Brooke’s desire to have his grandsons’ respect and admiration shows how important his relationships with them are, although this subtext is not acknowledged on the surface.  

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“He ran behind the car for as long as he could, until it hit the slope and began bumping down to the bottom. The hill was so steep that from where Genie was standing, it looked like his parents had just driven off a cliff. He tipped to the edge and watched the brake lights blinking on and off until they disappeared.” 

(Chapter 2, Page 44)

The steep hill outside Genie’s grandparents’ house is a physical barrier—the house perches at the top of the hill surrounded by trees and hills rather than neighbors. Genie imagining his parents driving off the cliff signals his awareness of their marital problems and the emotional impact of them leaving. Although Genie is on the cusp of adolescence, he is still a child who relies on his parents for safety and comfort.