The Boy in the Black Suit
by Jason Reynolds
Our Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 out of 5 stars)
Reviewed by: Rachel Maggard
Matt Miller is a senior in high school and his mother recently passed away. He is dealing with the emotions that come with losing a loved one, but he doesn’t want anyone at school to treat him differently. Matt decides he needs a job and wants to work at his favorite fast food restaurant, the Cluck Bucket. While there, he runs into Mr. Ray, his father’s friend, who offers him a job at the funeral home. He’s not sure he wants to work at a place where there are so many dead people, but while waiting in line to apply at the Cluck Bucket someone gets sick and a worker has to clean up the mess. Matt decides he’ll give the funeral home a try.
What he discovers as a funeral home employee is that A) it pays well and B) attending funerals is cathartic. At every funeral service, he makes it his goal to find the person who seems to be in deepest grief. He finds comfort in seeing that there are others, besides himself, who are dealing with this particular hardship. Matt also realizes this may be too weird of a quirk to share with anyone, but this seems to be the best way for him to move forward.
Meanwhile, there is a girl named Lovey that works at the Cluck Bucket and he’d really like to get to know her better. Before he gets up the nerve to talk to her, Lovey shows up at the funeral home because her grandmother has died. Matt and Lovey start spending time together and they learn they are quite different but still get along well.
“The Boy in the Black Suit” by Jason Reynolds is a coming-of-age story that deals with some of the hardest parts of life, and yet, it is written in an upbeat and unique way. I wanted to keep reading more about Matt Miller and his life, his community, his friends and his family until the very last page. This book was the second book by Jason Reynolds that I’ve read (I previously read “Ghost”) and he is an author that doesn’t disappoint. “The Boy in the Black Suit” is a story not to be missed.