35 pages 1 hour read

Jason Reynolds

For Every One

Fiction | Novel/Book in Verse | YA | Published in 2018

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Summary and Study Guide


For Every One by Jason Reynolds (2018) serves as a letter of encouragement and guidance. It is an extended verse novel tailored for young adults. Originally performed at the Kennedy Center for the unveiling of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, it invites dreamers on a journey of introspection and empowerment. Through metaphors and lyricism, Reynolds explores themes such as Resilience Amid Life’s Challenges, The Pursuit of Dreams, and The Transformative Journey of Self-Discovery and Growth. The work aims to offer solace and inspiration to those navigating the complexities of ambition, uncertainty, and the relentless pursuit of one’s dreams.

Jason Reynolds is known for his diverse contributions to young adult literature, particularly his spoken word poetry and novel in verse. When I Was The Greatest (2014), his debut novel, received the John Steptoe Award for New Talent. His novel in verse Long Way Down (2017) was a Newbery Medal Honor Book, a Coretta Scott King Honor Book, and a Printz Honor Book.

This guide refers to the 2018 Rakuten Kobo e-book edition, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

Plot Summary

Reynolds’s For Every One is a letter-style verse novel. It comprises “A Note” from the author followed by four distinct chapters that intertwine significantly. It is dedicated to both the reader and the author himself.

In his note, Reynolds reflects on his personal struggle to hold onto his dreams. He recounts the long and uncertain process of creating the work, intended as a source of solace and guidance for individuals, like himself, who have felt disheartened by the struggle to achieve their dreams.

In Chapter 1, Reynolds addresses readers as fellow “dreamers,” admitting his lack of “expertise” in achieving dreams. He emphasizes his ongoing pursuit despite not yet seeing his dreams materialize. He shares his own experiences, reflecting on the uncertainties and challenges he has encountered.

Chapter 2 delves into the emotional landscape of chasing dreams, exploring the sensations of unfulfilled longing and internal conflict. Reynolds depicts the internal turmoil and struggle against doubt and fear, highlighting the importance of pursuit despite uncertain outcomes.

In Chapter 3, the letter extends its encouragement to all dreamers regardless of their field or pursuit. Reynolds emphasizes the inclusivity of dreams, addressing not only artists but athletes, parents, and individuals of various aspirations, urging them to embrace courage in their pursuits and stay resilient.

In the final chapter, Reynolds personifies the elusive nature of his dream as a “rabid beast,” giving it sentient qualities. He underscores the significance of the pursuit itself. While finding the dream may remain uncertain, the journey shapes the person and their humanity.

The novel concludes with a heartfelt plea to readers to find comfort, truth, and resonance within its words. Reynolds gives permission to discard the work if it adds unnecessary weight to the reader’s life.