Tyrell

Woodridge Library

Tyrell

Teen Book Review and Summary

By COE BOOTH

Tyrell is a 15-year-old African-American navigating the pitfalls of a fractured home, bad parenting, and perpetual poverty. While his father serves a prison sentence for crimes committed, his mother - an unmotivated recipient of public assistance - does very little in the area of sustained work or home leadership. Her unwillingness to maintain employment creates a set of events that see the family check into a Bronx homeless shelter; this is a critical moment in the story as the main plot becomes solidified with Tyrell set to carry all subsequent chapters. From page 15 onward, Tyrell is placed into scenarios where adult decision making becomes crucial for a mere teenager.
 
Coe employs a fast-paced writing style through 42 very short chapters - an average of 7-8 pages per chapter. This method of storytelling works well for reluctant readers as the major plot points are achieved rather quickly; I was able to feel the highs and lows of Coe crafting relatable adversity than many teens have experienced. In addition, Coe breaths personality into Tyrell through the incorporation of language that speaks to where he’s from - New York City. This is great attention to detail that many YA readers should appreciate. As with many young boys in literature, Coe writes Tyrell to display an interest in several girls his age; however, living conditions and a strained family dynamic create unique obstacles throughout the entire piece.