Title: Miles Morales
Author: Jason Reynolds
“Everyone gets mad at hustlers, especially if you’re on the victim side of the hustle. And Miles knew hustling was in his veins.”
Miles Morales is just your average teenager. Dinner every Sunday with his parents, chilling out playing old-school video games with his best friend, Ganke, crushing on brainy, beautiful poet Alicia. He’s even got a scholarship spot at the prestigious Brooklyn Visions Academy. Oh yeah, and he’s Spider Man.
But lately, Miles’s spidey-sense has been on the fritz. When a misunderstanding leads to his suspension from school, Miles begins to question his abilities. After all, his dad and uncle were Brooklyn jack-boys with criminal records. Maybe kids like Miles aren’t meant to be superheroes. Maybe Miles should take his dad’s advice and focus on saving himself.
As Miles tries to get his school life back on track, he can’t shake the vivid nightmares that continue to haunt him. Nor can he avoid the relentless buzz of his spidey-sense every day in history class, amidst his teacher’s lectures on the historical “benefits” of slavery and the importance of the modern-day prison system. But after his scholarship is threatened, Miles uncovers a chilling plot, one that puts his friends, his neighborhood, and himself at risk.
It’s time for Miles to suit up.
When I picked up Miles Morales I expected the book to be incredibly fast paced and action packed. I had no real prior knowledge about Miles Morales other than the fact that he was spider man, so that, in combination with the fact that it’s a middle grade (or YA, I’m not actually sure..) novel, was the reason why I suspected this. In reality, however, the book was completely the opposite.
The book was pretty slow paced, and the focus lay more on his family, friends, school and neighborhood than on him being spider man. And I’m not saying that this is a bad thing. It took some time for me to adjust my expectations, sure, but I ended up really loving it.
The thing I loved most was Miles’ relationship with his parents. His parents are incredibly important and play a really big role in his life, which is very refreshing to see since this is very rare in a lot of middle grade and young adult books. Miles also wasn’t afraid to show that he adored his parents, which made me so happy to see.
The same goes for Miles’ friendship with his friend Ganke. It was so wonderful to see how real they could be with each other; how they could talk about their feelings and cry, but also joke around and get themselves in a bit of trouble. This is really the kind of friendship I want to see a lot more often in books.
Jason Reynolds’ writing was absolutely amazing. He has this way of words that’s indescribable, but absolutely blew me away. It’s that wonderful kind of writing that really packs a punch and makes you think, but isn’t difficult to understand. It’s real. Miles Morales touches on so many important issues, like racism, family, poverty and crime, and it does it in a very powerful way that will stay with you for a long time.
So while Miles Morales wasn’t what I expected at all, I ended up loving it more than I thought I would. Instead of being mindless fun, it really made me think. And it was fun.
This was my first Jason Reynolds book, and it certainly won’t be the last.