The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

21490991Matt and his best friend Chris had a terrifying experience when they were young, but it cements their friendship and they learn to navigate life in their neighborhood with each other and their rock-solid families, despite the challenges. That is, until Matt’s mom dies and Matt’s dad gets buried in an avalanche of grief. Suddenly, Matt is dealing with the kinds of things most people don’t understand, and he begins looking for people who do.

What he finds is that Mr. Ray, the owner of their local funeral home, is one of those people. And so are the people who come in to bury their loved ones. The hot girl who works at the fast food place is one of those people too, but it turns out she has a meaningful tie to the experience Matt and Chris shared years ago. Suddenly Matt needs to navigate the good things in his life with just as much finesse as he is managing the grief.

Reynolds has crafted a compelling narrative arc, warm, believable characters, and a story with real heart. I think it will win over lots of my students, not to mention other teens everywhere. I plan to recommend the heck out of it.

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