Reynolds, Jason The Boy in the Black Suit, 255 pgs. Atheneum Books, 2015. $17.99. Language: PG13 ( 73 swears 1 F); Mature Content: PG; Violence PG.
The summer before Matt’s senior year in high school, his mother passes away. He’s nearly 4 weeks late getting started and his work study job has gone to someone else. When his mother’s friend Mr. Ray offers Matt a job working at the funeral parlor, Matt is worried he will be reliving the worst day of his life (his mama’s funeral) over and over again, but attending other people’s funerals turns out to be comforting, rather than terrifying. When Matt’s dad starts drinking again, and then gets hit by a car, Matt finds himself on his own. But Mr. Ray has his eye on Matt, and Matt has his eye on a girlfriend, who is tough, pretty and has also been through a lot.
This heartfelt, hopeful, look at dealing with death and hard times is a great read. Matt’s perspective, living in a tough neighborhood, seeing the gangs, abuse and turmoil of the streets is presented authentically without being offensive. Although the characters are in highschool, this sensitive read is appropriate for middle school as well - if your patrons can navigate some mild swearing.
MS, HS - ADVISABLE Lisa Librarian