Monday, April 2, 2018

Review: Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles

Release date: March 20th 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:

The Hate U Give meets All American Boys in this striking and heartbreaking debut novel, commenting on current race relations in America. 

When Marvin Johnson's twin, Tyler, goes to a party, Marvin decides to tag along to keep an eye on his brother. But what starts as harmless fun turns into a shooting, followed by a police raid.

The next day, Tyler has gone missing, and it's up to Marvin to find him. But when Tyler is found dead, a video leaked online tells an even more chilling story: Tyler has been shot and killed by a police officer. Terrified as his mother unravels and mourning a brother who is now a hashtag, Marvin must learn what justice and freedom really mean.
Tyler Johnson Was Here is a stunning account of police brutality in modern America.

*Publisher approved my request via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

My only issue with the book is that it wasn't longer and that some scenes felt too quick. Aside from that, this story is so real and depicts exactly what is happening in this country. The number of Marvins in the news and those not mentioned at all are frighteningly high. There's absolutely nothing fiction about it. So from start to finish, every scene of racial discrimination, in school and within the community, was undeniably accurate and can be related to. And even more painful is that my review comes at a time when another defenseless black man is brutally murdered by police. I mean, shot several times in his back. Why is this happening? When will black lives truly start to matter and not be seen as less than?

My heart broke while reading Tyler Johnson Was Here, experiencing the heartache of a mother whose son was taken away, and a brother wanting to stand up for his twin and doing something to get more people to open their eyes to the injustices faced by black people daily. 

I highly recommend giving this one a read and do not compare it to The Hate U Give the way the blurb and others have. This is Jay Coles story. There is substance in the writing. The characters exist and they live outside of the pages. 

Jay ColesAbout the Author
Jay Coles is a MG and YA author. He lives in Indianapolis, Indiana with two dogs nicknamed Bonnie and Clyde. Also, Jay is a teacher, blogger, composer/musician and a proud member of ASCAP!



  1. I've seen this book around and have been curious about it. Looks like I can no longer resist.

    1. I hope you do get a chance to read it. The story is soooooo emotional and accurate!

  2. I've seen this book everywhere. I'm not sure if I really want to read it or not. But your review definitely has me leaning towards want to.

  3. Wow. Sometimes a book just needs to be longer because you love them so much. Sounds like this one made a big impact on you.


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