Tyrell by Coe Booth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I put Tyrell by Coe Booth in the same category as I put Street Pharm and Snitch by Allison van Diepen, or Homeboyz by Alan Lawrence Sitomer. These are books that many of my students have absolutely loved.
The novel tells the story of Tyrell, a teenager whose father is in jail, mother doesn’t have a job, and a little brother that he cares deeply about. What I liked most about Tyrell is that he is a multifaceted character. It’s not a story about a poor, homeless Black kid, it’s about a kid who’s trying to be a man and stay out of his own way (that means not getting into the things his father was into – those things landed him in jail).
The story is told through first person, and Tyrell is the narrator. The use of dialect throughout the narration definitely adds to the realism of the character.
I also liked how the story didn’t really end. Not as an ambiguous an ending as say, The Giver, but everything isn’t tied up in a nice neat bow for us. Life isn’t like that, and neither was the end of this novel.