#AA2019 Nominees Round Up, June 13 Edition

Tyler Johnson was Here by Jay Coles, narrated by Jaqwan J. Kelly
Audio Published By Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication Date: March 20, 2018
ISBN: 9781549197277

Marvin and Tyler are twin brothers. Tyler has started to hang out with drug dealers, so Marvin follows him to a party to keep Tyler out of trouble. When police break up the party, Tyler and Marvin are separated. Marvin begins to search for Tyler when he doesn’t come home. Tyler was shot by the police after the party, but it takes Marvin several days to track Tyler down. After losing his brother, Marvin starts on a journey to discover who he is, what justice means, and the complications of surviving high school when your brother is a hashtag.

Jaqwan J. Kelly’s narration brings Marvin to life as he journeys through anger, grief, frustration and more. The narration really helps the reader to feel as though they are friends with Marvin and inside his head allowing the reader to ache and grieve right alongside Marvin throughout the book.

Tyler Johnson was Here is a strong character-driven novel. Marvin’s story is all too real but told with grace and understanding. The pacing throughout the book is engaging, speeding up and slowing down at just the right points to draw the reader into Marvin’s life.

Tyler Johnson was Here adds a new voice to the wealth of YA social justice novels being published without feeling at all repetitive or derivative. Hand this title readers who can’t get enough of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, Dear Martin by Nic Stone, and other socially-minded readers.

–Cyndi Hamann