C.G. Drews's Reviews > Tyler Johnson Was Here

Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles
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really liked it
bookshelves: contemporary, read-2018, ya-male-narrators, young-adult

This is such a heartwrenching (and important) read. And I am just a bucket of sad right now...this one hit hard. I'm really glad books like this are getting published (and #ownvoices narratives are so important) so when I say "this is depressing" I don't mean it's something that shouldn't be said!! We need to be told these types of stories again and again until the world changes.

But seriously I am just 😭😭

I also want to whisper that I I loooove the cover so much. It is so soft™ and I feel like it's such an important cover because here is are flowers and life and a boy who deserves better and it's just sUCH a good cover.

So this book is about police brutality, but it also focuses on the "everyday" parts of racism. And I cannot freaking comprehend how it would be to live like these black teens have to live. Like when Marvin is going to a protest his mother literally says don't have anything in your pockets...like not even a phone...so he can't be mistaken for being armed. Look I'm Australian, so this is mind-boggling to me, (not that Australia isn't hella racist, because it is...but at least we don't have gun violence like this). And there's one scene where Marvin and his friends are litearlly at a store BUYING SNACKS and they nearly got shot for "shoplifting". Like wtf, America, what. is. going. on. Even if they were shoplifting (but it was purely assuming they were because they're black and this is so rotten) you do not get shot for that??!?? It was so eye opening for me, and I really felt the devastation on every page of kids who just don't deserve this but it's their life.

It does mix hope with the sadness though! I'm glad that's in there. I can imagine this book will be so important to so many black teens (and all types of teens because everyone should be reading books like this!) but just to give encouragement as well as give you room to cry and be angry.

(Also I LOVE how emotional the characters were!! Marvin cried and he cried a lot and I just !! I think it's important for books to show emotional boys.)

I do think the writing has room to grow! Which isn't really a negative! I just felt a few times it needed a bit more of a wordsmithing hone but that could just personal taste too. Aaaand I wasn't a super fan of the romance just because, eh??! I felt Faith was a bit one-dimensional and romance in books that deal about really dark/brutal topics always feels a bit thrown in to me. (But I'm a super unromantic person so.)

IT'S A GOOD BOOK AND IT'S DEVASTATING. I'm glad I read it and got to meet Marvin and take this tumultuous journey with him.😭

It's best to cry when it's dark and I'm alone. So right now isn't the time to cry, even though I feel like just busting out in a watery stream.


We have to do everything within our power to raise our voices. We have to protest. Just praying and hoping for justice and grace and mercy won't help us now.
Faith tells me that Frederick Douglass said, "I prayed for twenty years. Nothing happened until I got off my knees and started marching with my feet."
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Reading Progress

September 12, 2017 – Shelved
September 12, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
April 11, 2018 – Started Reading
April 12, 2018 –
page 152
50.84% "This is so so sad to read.😭😭"
April 14, 2018 – Shelved as: contemporary
April 14, 2018 – Shelved as: read-2018
April 14, 2018 – Shelved as: ya-male-narrators
April 14, 2018 – Shelved as: young-adult
April 14, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-11 of 11 (11 new)

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message 1: by Mattie (new)

Mattie How many boxes of tissues do I need to buy in preparation for this book?


C.G. Drews @Mattie: The best answer is: yes.


message 3: by yovita (new)

yovita what about The Hate U Give? can we compare these two or...?


C.G. Drews @Yovita: It's in the same genre but it's a very different story to THUG!


destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries] Amazing review! I pre-ordered this but haven't worked up the courage to read it yet. I'm gonna have to move it up on my TBR, though! <3


message 6: by Bec (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bec Great review! Getting close to the end of the audio and just want to make it known that Coles' narrating makes it feel so so personal. Yes, I have felt an incredibly similar vibe to Dear Martin but these stories need to be told over and over and over imho.


C.G. Drews @Destiny: I think you're going to love it but also...😭😭

@Becca: Omg the author narrates?! I seriously want to try the audio now. 😭The fear and emotion was so palpable with just the written word so awk the audio...


message 8: by Bec (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bec C.G. wrote: "@Destiny: I think you're going to love it but also...😭😭

@Becca: Omg the author narrates?! I seriously want to try the audio now. 😭The fear and emotion was so palpable with just the written word so..."


Yes! I didn't realize until I started listening to it.

Just don't listen to it in public for fear of walking into things you can't see through the curtain of tears.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

hey cait! i'm following your advice and starting a dragon army- I MEAN READING THIS BOOK before reading the blurb going out on a limb here but i truST YOU


message 10: by C.G. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.G. Drews @Minna: ahhhh I'm honoured you trust me haha. (But it's definitely better without knowing the spoilers in the blurb!!)


message 11: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary What page number was this quote found on, do you know?

We have to do everything within our power to raise our voices. We have to protest. Just praying and hoping for justice and grace and mercy won't help us now.
Faith tells me that Frederick Douglass said, "I prayed for twenty years. Nothing happened until I got off my knees and started marching with my feet."


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