Hostile Questions: Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds gazes toward future glory (or ruin).

Reynolds gazes toward future glory (or ignominious ruin).

Jason Reynolds might be the closest thing right now to an “It” author in YA lit. Exhibits A-X: When I Was the Greatest, The Boy in the Black Suit, All American Boys, As Brave as You. But don’t get cocky, Mr. Reynolds! In 2004, The Guardian named Lindsay Lohan their annual “It Girl.” Lindsay Lohan, Mr. Reynolds. On the Lohan Scale™, you’re probably at the Mean Girls phase—a pretty sweet place to be—but watch out. You’re one false move from the I Know Who Killed Me phase. Scared yet? Let’s get hostile.

Just who do you think you are?

I ask myself this same question every single day. Most of the time the answer is, “a very lucky guy who gets to tell stories and live his dream.” But other times the answer is, “a fool who is one sentence away from waking up and realizing that he had fallen down the steps in the clothing store he works and has been in the hospital, in a coma, dreaming about life as a writer.” And on the rare occasion, the answer is, “Batman.”

all american boysWhere do you get off?

A better question is WHEN do I get off?

What’s the big idea?

No big ideas. Just a gazillion small ones.

What is your problem, man?

The biggest one is I don’t have amnesia like so many of my fellow adults. I remember who I was as a teenager. I remember what I used to do. So if you see me yelling at someone, it’s most likely an adult who’s bad-mouthing and finger-wagging a kid. Yes, you should take this as a warning.

Haven’t you done enough?

Enough donut eating? Yes. Enough non-sleeping? Definitely. Enough shoe buying? Don’t get me started. But enough work? Enough writing? No. Not even close.



About the Author:

Dan Kraus was Booklist's Editor of Books for Youth. He is also the producer and director of numerous feature films, most notably the documentary Work Series, and the author of several YA novels, including Rotters and Scowler, both of which won the Odyssey Award. Follow him on Twitter at @DanielDKraus.

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