Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Genre: Middle grade fiction, novel in verse
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from Sync YA
Audiobook reader: Dion Graham
Audiobook length: 1 hour and 19 minutes
First line: This whole book’s a poem ’cause every time I try to tell the whole story my mind goes Be quiet!
Goodreads blurb: When Lonnie Collins Motion “Locomotion” was seven years old, his life changed forever. Now he’s eleven, and his life is about to change again. His teacher, Ms. Marcus, is showing him ways to put his jumbled feelings on paper. And suddenly, Lonnie has a whole new way to tell the world about his life, his friends, his little sister Lili, and even his foster mom, Miss Edna, who started out crabby but isn’t so bad after all. Jacqueline Woodson’s novel-in-poems is humorous, heartbreaking . . . a triumph.
Its simple yet honest poetry gives you a clear look into the feelings and emotions of Lonnie as he takes what he is given and makes poetry out of it. Locomotion gives you a point of view not often told and takes you on a journey to remember.
Last year, Vasilly and I swapped reading lists. I didn’t do very well at reading the books she suggested – only one out of five. But Locomotion was one of the books on the list, and so when Sync YA offered the audiobook edition as a free download, I put it on my MP3 player. And V was right; this is an amazing book.
For some reason, I’ve always avoided novels told in verse. I don’t really know why, as I enjoy reading poetry. Locomotion is Lonnie’s book of poems, the ones he writes at his teacher’s request. And Lonnie has a knack for writing, for putting his experiences down on paper. For such a young man, he has lived through some pretty terrible things, events that have shaped his life and his personality. He is damaged, yet so full of strength, and I absolutely fell in love with him while listening to his poems, especially since it is the brilliant narrator Dion Graham who gives Lonnie his voice.
While reading about the tragedies that Lonnie has experienced, especially seeing them through his eyes, is heartbreaking, Lonnie’s spirit and fire come through, and Locomotion is ultimately a hopeful book. In looking at Woodson’s other works, I discovered that she wrote a sequel called Peace, Locomotion, and I can’t wait to read the continuation of Lonnie’s story.