Last week, I finished Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles. I haven’t written a review yet, so I thought I’d preface that review with Book Beginnings and a Friday 56.
Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader and features the beginnings of books. Here’s the beginning of Tyler Johnson Was Here:
Here’s what goes down:
It’s just the four of us. My best friends Ivy and Guillermo (G-Mo), my brother Tyler, and me. We’re just strolling through the aisles of a corner convenience store, rapping aloud to my favorite Kendrick Lamar song, “Feel,” taking turns rapping verses out loud.
My first thought when I read this was this: Coles is going to hit us with shenanigans right out of the gate. I knew that Tyler was going to be killed before I started reading the book, but I didn’t know we wouldn’t get to know him first.
That turned out to be slightly inaccurate, which I was happy about, though I will say that we get to know him better as Marvin (the narrator) tries to figure out what happened to him as we progress through the novel.
The Friday 56 is a meme hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice. You wander toward page 56 or to 56% and share what you find there. Here’s what’s on page 56 of Tyler Johnson Was Here:
I walk by Tyler’s room. He’s sitting on the edge of his twin-sized bed, his eyes cold and brown, and drained, like coffee stains. He gives me one slow nod, and I walk inside and sit next to him on the bed, looking around like I’ve just stepped inside Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. His hideout is a graffiti mural plastered in posters and sports cards.
I think this passage sets up the difference between Tyler and Marvin nicely. We learn at the beginning that Marvin and his friends are nerdy and that Tyler is not.