Title: The Boy in the Black Suit
Author: Jason Reynolds
According to NPR, The Boy in the Black Suit is a beautifully real approach to grief.*
Seventeen-year-old Matt is trying to figure out how to go on living after his mother dies of cancer. It’s a small, slice-of-life kind of book and it’s not a unique story, but the writing is terrific. This is only Jason Reynolds’s second book, and he effortlessly captures Matt’s voice and all the little details that illustrate Matt’s home and life in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.
As Matt’s father falls apart, Matt gets an after-school job at the local funeral parlor. It might seem like a strange choice for someone whose mother just died, but seeing the rituals of death and the expressions of emotion from all the mourners allows Matt to figure out his own feelings.
This is a short, powerful, and ultimately uplifting story.
*I would never reference NPR when booktalking to teens! Clearly this was booktalked to an adult audience.