Author: Jason Reynolds
Pages: 255 (Hardcover)
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Purchase: Amazon•TBD (affiliate link)
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.
Despite being about death, grieving, and loneliness, The Boy in the Black Suit is a very uplifting read. Matthew’s mother died a month ago and he’s just trying to get through the rest of high school. He winds up taking an after school job at the funeral home after some hesitation. But Matthew finds that he really likes it. It might be morbid, but he enjoys sitting in on the funerals that he helped set up. He looks for the person who is closest to the deceased and feels less alone. Then one day, that person happens to be the girl he had his eye on.
The Boy in the Black Suit was a super quick read! I finished it in one sitting. I was immediately drawn in by Matthew’s voice. He felt very real to me, and I couldn’t help but be interested in what he had to say. I couldn’t relate to him on the level of having someone close to me die, but I could totally relate to him trying to figure out what to do next. How does he move on from this? I also just really liked how he really liked funerals. That’s probably strange, but it’s something that worked for him and that’s cool.
There’s a lot of talk of death, and then Matthew’s father also goes through some hardships, but The Boy in the Black Suit never felt heavy to me. Yes, Matthew is sad and I felt bad for his father, but I never felt sad. Matthew is doing the best he can and then he finds a job and a girl that he likes. He also has the funeral home owner watching out for him, and I liked seeing that relationship develop as well. The story is all about making connections. No matter what you’re going through, you never have to do it alone.