TITLE: The Boy in the Black Suit
AUTHOR: Jason Reynolds
PUBLISHER: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
PUBLISHED DATE: January 6, 2015
I wasn't expecting to be so emotionally affected by this book, but I was.
Clearly the torch has been passed on from the late great Walter Dean Myers to Mr. Jason Reynolds. There's no one else out right now who writes as authentically, compassionately, and bravely as Mr. Reynolds. The Boy in the Black Suit is a 2016 Coretta Scott King Honor book, and once you read it, you'll know why.
Matt is a 17 year old who's just lost his mom. His father is a drunk who is in recovery in a rehab center leaving Matt to deal with his grief alone. Who would ever think that working at a funeral home would be therapeutic? Staring death in the face every day and watching the process of others grieve provides lessons for Matt, in a place where death and violence seem inevitable. While exploring these morbid themes of loss, young Matt finds love in a strong young woman who has lost both her mother and grandmother, and like Matt, finds herself navigating the precarious streets of Harlem alone. In the midst of their pain they form a strong bond - over food, service and ...flowers???
This is a beautiful story that really hits you when you least expect it.