Friday, November 19, 2010

Tyrell by Coe Booth

Tyrell is feeling the pressure. He and his mom and his little brother just got kicked out of the projects and they’re living in a shelter. His dad is in prison and his mom wants him to start selling drugs to support the family. He’s torn between his long-time girlfriend (whose life seems perfect and nothing like Tyrell’s) and the new girl he met at the shelter (whose life is more similar to his own). With all of these challenges in his life, school is not a priority and he stops going. Booklist, in its starred review of the book, said Tyrell is “heartbreakingly realistic,” and I agree. Tyrell’s life reflects the stressful experiences of many of our students’ own lives. The plot is immediately familiar, as is the characters’ language and dialog. This book flies off the shelves; it gets checked out more times than any other novel in the library, and it is the most difficult one to get returned. One student borrows the book, but it often then gets read by each student in the group home before it comes back to school. This book is highly recommended for independent reading— trust me, it’s not a tough sell. Also exciting for students and teachers, the sequel, Bronxwood, is coming out soon! We are eagerly anticipating Ms. Booth’s visit with our high school students at Summit in December.

Booth, Coe. Tyrell. New York: PUSH Scholastic, 2006.

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