Tyrell’s life isn’t easy. His dad is in jail. His mom doesn’t have a job and his little brother doesn’t have anything to eat. They are homeless. His young girlfriend Novisha wants him all to herself, but Jasmine, the pretty girl at the hotel where their families are living, is offering something he can’t refuse. While his mom leaves her boys alone to go party with her friends, Tyrell struggles to provide food for his brother. With his father gone, Tyrell is the man of the family and it is up to him to keep his family off the streets. Tyrell connects with an old friend of his dad’s and makes plans that could provide the family with enough money to stay out of a shelter. Can he trust his dad’s friend? More importantly, can he trust himself?

Recommendation: I taught in the Bronx for several years and encountered many “Tyrells” during my time there. The story is very realistic and not especially heartwarming. The explicit language and sexual situations, while jarring to some, are not overdone or exaggerated. Those students looking for Street Lit or Urban Literature are sure to find what they are looking for in Tyrell.

Recommended by Abby Moore, Education Librarian/University of South Dakota, South Dakota USA

310 pages 978-0439838801 Ages 14 and up

Sequel: Bronxwood


Sixteen-year-old Tyrell, his seven-year-old brother, Troy and his mother find themselves living in a shelter after being evicted from a housing unit for non payment of rent.  Tyrell’s father is in jail and his mother is unemployed.  Tyrell, however, has a plan.  He wants to make enough money to move his family into another housing unit.  The pressure and responsibility is great, but Tyrell thinks he can handle this.  As Tyrell’s plan develops and unfolds, he learns much about friendships, love relationships, and the business of making money.  Will Tyrell’s plan succeed or fail?

Set in Chicago, Booth takes the reader through the struggles of a young man trying to be the man of the family.  Without judgment, Booth writes a story that is realistic, provocative, and emotional.  The characters are very realistic and very interesting.  The action is appropriately paced and the plot is full of surprises.  The ending begs for a sequel, which is Bronxwood.

Recommended by:  Karen Lemmons, Library Media Specialist, Detroit School of Arts, Detroit, Michigan USA


NYC South Bronx, NYC Emergency Assistance Unit, 
Alternative School, Metrocards

Teenage Tyrell is truant from school and taking care of his mother 
and his 6 year old brother. After the family is taken from their home 
in the "projects" and relocated to a decrepit motel. Tyrell decides 
to use his imprisoned fathers DJ equipment and hold a dance party. 
The story follows Tyrell as he sets up the dance while managing his 
scatter-brained mother keeping her from getting into legal difficuties.

Recommended by: Frank Hodge, Bookseller and Professor, Hodge Podge Books, New York USA

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