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The Boy in the Black Suit

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  3,890 Ratings  ·  858 Reviews
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 d
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published January 6th 2015 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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Sarah Yes. It's definitely more appropriate for older teens. There's not inappropriate content, but I think the themes would be much better understood and…moreYes. It's definitely more appropriate for older teens. There's not inappropriate content, but I think the themes would be much better understood and appreciated by older kids.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jillian Heise
A quietly hopeful book that reaches for the heartstrings and makes the reader want to be and do better, while never seeming like that's what's happening. The balance this book strikes between grief and community and friendship and hope and relationships and strength and looking forward and really living life while taking place in an innercity neighborhood is what makes it so powerful. It has moments of brilliance that I wanted to bookmark and put on a poster on my wall, but in Jason Reynolds' wr ...more
A quiet and beautiful story about a young man coming to terms with his mother's death and its aftermath. Jason Reynolds is a remarkable talent.
Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner)
Posted originally at my blog The Perpetual Page-Turner -- come hang out for book talk and more!

I’m just saying this right now — Jason Reynolds is an extraordinary talent who needs WAY more recognition. I was so, so impressed with The Boy In The Black Suit. It’s smart, moving and

1. The Boy in the Black Suit was a book that I related to immensely: It’s no secret that I gravitate to books dealing with grief –especially that of a parent– and Jason Reynolds explored this with such finesse and beauty.
Adam Silvera
Jul 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"A lot of hard lives and young faces." This line pretty much sums up the lives of the characters and I loved watching Matt and Lovey grow from their tragedies. Check it out!
Originally Posted at Confessions of an Opinionated Book Geek

I am having a renaissance. It’s cultural, personal and steeped in my own identity. I am reading writers of color and characters of color. This seems obvious. I’m black. I am of color. I am from the Bronx. I was born in the city and bred in the hood. Of course, I read books about people like me. Only, for most of my life I haven’t. In high school I was handed F. Scott Fitzgerald, S.E. Hinton and J.D. Salinger. I read and reread The Outs
The ONLY reason this realistic book that is by turns funny and heart-wrenching did not get 5 stars from me is the author's reliance on coincidence to stitch his story up at the end.

Dear Jason Reynolds - your story and certainly your characters are strong enough to carry the tale through to a satisfying conclusion without tying up all the loose ends in a bow. You can let 'em finish messy. Love, Paula
Trinity N
Sep 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-nine-weeks
Matt's life went downhill ever since his mom died. His father became a drunk and acts like everything's ok. But it's not. Matt earned a job that earned him $30 a day witch isn't too bad, since the Cluck Bucket probably pays a lot less. Oh, did I mention that his job is a pallbearer? Yep, that's right. He works at a funeral house. He's fine with it though, because it lets him know he's not alone when it comes to death. He slips into back of the funerals and watches them until it's over. It doesn' ...more
Shaun Hutchinson
Apr 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Damn. This book. Just...damn. A beautifully written, quiet, character study of a young man who seeks solace after his mother's death by attending the funerals of others. Jason Reynolds is amazing. Read this book.
Siyona N
When Matt's mom dies from breast cancer everything falls apart. For instance, his father starts drinking again a habit he stopped so he could marry Matt's mom. News spreads like wildfire through Matt's town so when he goes back to school everyone treats him like the boy with a dead mama. At least Chris ( his best friend ) doesn't treat him differently. His dad stops working so Matt tries to find work at Cluck Bucket a joint near his house. At Cluck Bucket, Matt meets a girl who he thinks is name ...more
Sep 14, 2015 rated it liked it
I was a LITTLE disappointed in this one...mostly because of how much I loved Jason Reynolds' When I Was the Greatest. Like Ali, Matt is an African American teen in a rough neighborhood who does his best to make good choices, but this narrative just doesn't have the same punch that Ali's did.

There's not as much character interaction--much of the narrative is just Matt's internal thoughts--and the most interesting interactions are those he has with Lovey, who doesn't appear until halfway through
A really solid, quick read about a boy working through his own personal grief by working at a funeral home and building new relationships. It's a quieter book, but emotionally resonant. The romance that buds between Matt and Love is sweet and realistic -- it's not immediate, it's not hot-and-heavy, and it's (view spoiler)

More to come. It was refreshing to read a story like this from a black teen boy's point of view.
Heather Taake
Jan 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
All hail, Jason Reynolds! The man can write no wrong. I loved this book. It's a perfect mixture of grief and hope and humor. Reynolds writes in a way that is gut-wrenching, yet beautiful. Go read everything with his name on it. No really, go right now!
Wendy Darling
I liked the narrative voice and I liked the protagonist, but I set it down about halfway through. I think it was lacking the spark I was looking for, in the dialogue and in emotion. I'd try another book by this author down the road, though.
Lekeisha The Booknerd
Read Full Review

Matt is a character that I truly love and respect. Despite his grief, he manages to take care of himself and his dad. He still has moments when he can’t shake the pain of his mother’s death but he deals the best way that he can. Meeting Lovey was the best thing that could happen to him. When you find that person who has been through worse hell than you have, and they seem to be doing just fine, you want to get to that point. Though, making yourself tough to hide the pain is just
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
I was not impressed with this one. In fact, I was bored. The book drags on and the reader waits and waits for some big event...but nothing happens. I was really hoping for a book that teenagers who have suffered loss could really connect to, but I don't believe this is it! I know teenagers pretty well, and it's doubtful they would wade through this book.
Jan 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
reynolds made me laugh and broke my heart at the
same time. such a wonderfully written, honest novel,
about grief and loss and life and love. my first read by
reynolds, and i'm looking forward to reading more!!

i love his narrative voice!
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
How I struggled to finish this! It kind of always felt like nothing was really happening. Would not recommend.
Sara (A Gingerly Review)
Jason Reynolds can write a damn good story but this was just alright for me. I started to lose interest the closer I got to the end. :(

Matthew Miller is still reeling from the loss of his mother, but now he must deal with his father who is drinking to numb his feelings. To help pay the bills, Matt has been given a job by Mr. Willie Ray, a friend of the family's, at his funeral home. Matt finds working there and attending these strangers' funerals oddly comforting as he continues to navigate his own grief alone.

One day, while working another funeral, Matt meets Lovey. A girl with a strange name, but who appears mature and compos
Brandy Painter
Jan 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Originally posted here at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.

The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds came out the first week of the year. I heard good things from several people, and was eager to try on of Reynold's books. Boy was I not disappointed.

Matt Miller is a boy who wears a black suit to school every day. His mom died of cancer recently, but that's not the reason for the suit. Matt, a senior on an abbreviated schedule due to good grades, works every day at a local funeral home. He arran
Richie Partington
Aug 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Richie’s Picks: THE BOY IN THE BLACK SUIT by Jason Reynolds, Atheneum, January 2015, 272p., ISBN: 978-1-4424-5950-2

“I don’t need no money, fortune, or fame
I’ve got all the riches baby one man can claim”
Smokey Robinson and Ronald White, “My Girl” (1964)

“We started up the block, our cement world of trash cans blown into the street, stray cats begging, stoop sitters dressed in fresh sneakers smoking blunts in broad daylight, old ladies sweeping the sidewalk, tired nine-to-fivers walking slowly on t
Kelly Hager
Nov 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I hadn't heard anything about this book before it showed up at my house one day. It sounded interesting (and you know how I love books about grief) and so I planned to slip it very high up the TBR pile. I mention that so you know that this book quickly became an anticipated read of mine and also to let you know that this book completely caught me off guard.

Like Matt, I lost a parent in high school and I absolutely agree with him that at that age, your grief isolates you. You don't know anyone el
Sue (Hollywood News Source)

The Boy in the Black Suit is included in Hollywood News Source's 10 YA Books To Read For Mental Health Awareness Month.

I love the authentic voice of the main character, though perhaps the ingenious and unique portrayal of grief struck me the most. It's extremely heartfelt.
Sarah (YA Love)
The audio was too slow so I finished by reading the rest of the physical book. This isn't a flashy, exciting novel by any means, but it's a great look at the different ways people grieve and move past grief.
Edward Sullivan
A poignant, realistic, affecting story with some nice doses of humor.
Dorian de Jandreau
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Keista, kad įsigijau šitą knygą du mėnesiai iki brangiausio žmogaus netekties... ir gerai, kad ją perskaičiau tik dabar kai emocijos jau nebe tokios aštrios, nes šitoje knygoje susitapatinau su pagrindiniu veikėju Matju. Jaunas vaikinas vos prieš kelias dienas netekęs mamos... ir todėl lengvai įsijaučiau į šitą knygą. Nors iš pradžių man ji skaitėsi sunkiai, atrodė nuobodoka, bet vėliau ledai pajudėjo ir atsivėrė įdomioji knygos pusė. Skausmas, liūdesys ir sielvartas pamažu peraugęs į laimę, dži ...more
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Jason Reynolds can do no wrong! Another amazing story, with a main character who draws you in and makes you laugh and cry. Also, there is no understating how awesome some of the secondary characters are in this story (like the narrator’s mom who has just passed but leaves her mark on the story in tons of little ways, the neighborhood funeral director who has a few stories of his own, and the wise-beyond-her-years Love).
Rich in Color
Oct 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: contemporary
Review originally published in January on

Ever love a book so much that you are momentarily struck dumb and all you can do is squee? Well, that’s how I feel about Jason Reynold’s “The Boy in the Black Suit”. I have been trying to write this review for days but I couldn’t get much farther than, “I love this book so much and you should read it!” Obviously, I have to find the words to describe why I liked Reynold’s novel, but what my review will most likely come down to is, “I loved
Dec 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
There is a curious paradox that no one can explain.

Matthew Miller's mother died of cancer the summer before his senior year of high school, and he's not handling it well. Not that you'd know to look at him: he manages to keep it together at school, and with his dad, but inside he feels wrecked and hopeless. When Mr. Ray, the funeral home director, offers him a job, Matt is skeptical. He finds, however, that hanging around and helping out with the business of death makes it a little easier to wor
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The Boy in the Black Suit & Depression 2 5 May 06, 2018 09:51AM  
Love YA Like Crazy: Episode #22: 'The Boy in the Black Suit' by Jason Reynolds 1 1 Jul 08, 2017 05:50AM  
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After earning a BA in English from The University of Maryland, College Park, he moved to Brooklyn, New York, where you can often find him walking the four blocks from the train to his apartment talking to himself. Well, not really talking to himself, but just repeating character names and plot lines he thought of on the train, over and over again, because he’s afraid he’ll forget it all before he ...more
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“...death isn't bad. It's not. It's just that life is so good. So damn good that you just wanna hold on to it, and everybody in it. But we can't. But what we can do, is appreciate it more. Y'know, smell the flowers.” 9 likes
“And sometimes,” he continued while flipping another one, “I can lose and lose and lose and I don’t know why. But there’s nothing I can do but just keep flipping the cards. Eventually, I’ll win again. As long as you got cards to keep turning, you’re fine. Now, that’s life,” he said, pushing another hand I won over to me.” 9 likes
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