The Boy in the Black Suit

Publisher: Faber and Faber

Review

When Matt’s mum tragically dies from cancer, it feels like all the joy is sucked out of his life. He can’t even cook as that was "their" thing. Only his friend Chris even half treats him normally and the whole world seems messed up, especially when his dad starts drinking.

But things start to change when Matt gets a job at his local funeral parlour run by family friend Mr Ray. Strangely, going to other people’s funerals and honing in on the most grief struck relatives starts to make him feel a bit better. Then the grandma of a girl he noticed at the chicken shop dies. 

As their story begins to unfold, it’s really like fate has brought them together. She has an incredible name – Love – and maybe she can help Matt find joy in life again.

This is a profoundly beautiful, open-hearted, funny, tear-jerking, readable and relatable story, which explores grief in the truest sense. The prose never falters; every word is exactly right. As always with Jason Reynolds, teenagers that don’t even call themselves readers will find themselves swept up in Matt’s story, and suddenly discover that not only have they read a book, but they’ve read a deeply meaningful and important one, as if by magic. 

Note: The main characters are aged 17. There are some relatively mild swears (such as "pissed", used in the American sense of being unhappy) but there is no sexual content beyond kissing.

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