The Boy in the Black Suit is book #2 for me off the 2017 Abe Lincoln Book Award Nominee list. I am a HUGE fan of Jason Reynolds. I fell in love with his writing when I read All American Boys last fall and was so excited to get my hands on a copy of this book when the list came out. The Boy in the Black Suit did not disappoint!
Summary by Goodreads:
Just when seventeen-year-old Matt thinks he can’t handle one more piece of terrible news, he meets a girl who’s dealt with a lot more—and who just might be able to clue him in on how to rise up when life keeps knocking him down—in this wry, gritty novel from the author of When I Was the Greatest.
Matt wears a black suit every day. No, not because his mom died—although she did, and it sucks. But he wears the suit for his gig at the local funeral home, which pays way better than the Cluck Bucket, and he needs the income since his dad can’t handle the bills (or anything, really) on his own. So while Dad’s snagging bottles of whiskey, Matt’s snagging fifteen bucks an hour. Not bad. But everything else? Not good. Then Matt meets Lovey. She’s got a crazy name, and she’s been through more crazy than he can imagine. Yet Lovey never cries. She’s tough. Really tough. Tough in the way Matt wishes he could be. Which is maybe why he’s drawn to her, and definitely why he can’t seem to shake her. Because there’s nothing more hopeful than finding a person who understands your loneliness—and who can maybe even help take it away.
I loved this story. It is not action packed, but instead is character and relationship driven. Reynolds has a way of creating characters that I want to root for to find happiness. This is a story of hope after grief. While Matt’s father was rather selfish for going off the wagon after his wife passed away, it led to Matt developing a father/son type relationship with Mr. Ray and then meeting Lovey who teaches Matt how to move on after his mother’s death. This book is powerful and will help those who need it. 4.5 Stars – Definitely worthy of an Abe Nominee!