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Tyrell
Book
2006
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Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

Coe Booth tells the story of a 15-year-old boy who can't catch a break. Living in a shelter in the South Bronx, Tyrell relies on his girlfriend's financial support while he tries to get his family out of their slump. He doesn't want to resort to a life of crime, but everything in his world is leading him in that direction. Tyrell's gritty tale is made all the more vivid by Booth's realistic language and riveting storytelling style. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Booklist Review

You don't hardly get to have no kinda childhood in the hood. At 15, Tyrell is trying to keep his little brother in school and safe in their roach-infested shelter in the Bronx. He has dropped out of school, and Moms wants him to sell drugs to make money. But Tyrell is too smart. He doesn't want to end up in prison like his dad, so he tries to organize a neighborhood party to raise money. His girlfriend, Novisha, isn't happy that Tyrell has dropped out. She loves him, and they make out, but he respects her wish to remain a virgin. Booth, who was born and raised in the Bronx, is now a social worker there, and her first novel is heartbreakingly realistic. There are some plot contrivances--including Tyrell's stumbling upon Novisha's diary--but the immediate first-person narrative is pitch perfect: fast, funny, and anguished (there's also lots of use of the n-word, though the term is employed in the colloquial sense, not as an insult). Unlike many books reflecting the contemporary street scene, this one is more than just a pat situation with a glib resolution; it's filled with surprising twists and turns that continue to the end. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2006 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

After his DJ father is incarcerated for drug dealing, 15-year-old Tyrell, his brother and his mother are rendered homeless and move to a slummy city shelter in the Bronx. His mom's ineffectual attempts at keeping the family afloat financially and emotionally soon fall flat, and Tyrell is forced to take the family's situation into his own hands. Inspired by his father, he decides to throw a secret dance party in an abandoned bus garage with a steep admission charge guaranteed to boost his family's income. Booth, a writing consultant for the NYC Housing Authority, clearly understands how teens living on the edge--in shelters, in projects, on the street--live, talk and survive. It's the slick street language of these tough but lovable characters and her gritty landscapes that will capture the interests of urban fiction fans. While the complex party-planning plotline doesn't exactly cut a straight path, its convoluted-ness undoubtedly illustrates the kinds of obstacles these teens must overcome and the connections they need to make in order to survive--inside or outside the law. (Fiction. YA) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
An astonishing new voice in teen literature, writing what is sure to be one of the most talked-about debuts of the year.<br> <br> Tyrell is a young, African American teen who can't get a break. He's living (for now) with his spaced-out mother and little brother in a homeless shelter. His father's in jail. His girlfriend supports him, but he doesn't feel good enough for her - and seems to be always on the verge of doing the wrong thing around her. There's another girl at the homeless shelter who is also after him, although the desires there are complicated. Tyrell feels he needs to score some money to make things better. Will he end up following in his father's footsteps?
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