Tyrell by Coe Booth

Tyrell is realistic fiction for many an urban teen coming of age in or around poverty and a nightmarish fantasy in the seedy part of the city for suburban and rural dwellers. At times, the narrator’s slang distracts from the rhythm of the prose but such staccato may keep the interest of the adolescent who loathes reading 310 pages of anything. Images of poverty are fresh; the emotional undulations the title character experiences and shares lend authenticity and, along with ubiquitous sexual pressures and illegal activity, make this tale of stolen youth a page turner. With nearly every female in the novel characterized as irresponsible or a sexual deviant, I almost assumed Coe Booth a member of the generally hairier gender but I suppose that the notion of a near-perfect protagonist and narrator would make many a male novelist chuckle then pause. Still, you gotta love Tyrell’s fear and courage, naivety and wisdom all balled up into one hormone heightened kid who can’t catch a break but never stops trying.

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