49 pages 1 hour read

Jason Reynolds

The Boy in the Black Suit

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2015

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Chapters 1-3Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 1 Summary: “Everything Is Backward”

Matthew Miller, a Black American teenage boy known as Matt to his friends, begins his first day of his senior year three weeks into the school year. His mother died just days before; he did not attend school so that he could be near her before she passed away. Matt lives with his father in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant and attends public school. Matt feels that some fellow students behave awkwardly around him; James Skinner, for example, avoids any conversation even though he and Matt spoke recently over the summer when they had senior portraits taken. Matt’s best friend, Chris Hayes, though seeks Matt out to express sympathy and apologize for not attending Matt’s mother’s funeral. Matt takes only a half-day’s worth of classes each day, leaving at noon. Because his planned work-study program at a bank went to another student in Matt’s absence, Matt needs an afternoon job.

Matt goes to the Cluck Bucket, a fried chicken fast food restaurant from which his family often ordered take-out. The counter server, who wears a necklace that reads Renee, and the cook Clara respond to his request to apply for work with short sentences and rough demeanors.

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