49 pages 1 hour read

Jason Reynolds

The Boy in the Black Suit

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2015

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Character Analysis

Matthew Miller (Matt)

Matt is a high school senior who lives in a townhouse-style brownstone in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York City. He has lived there his entire life, but the home seems empty and quiet since the death of his mother at the start of the school year. Matt lives there now with only his father. When his father is hurt in an accident early in the novel, Matt stays in the apartment alone with supervision throughout the day from Mr. Ray, his neighbor and boss.

Matt’s best friend is Chris Hayes. Other acquaintances are distant to Matt since he lost his mother and Matt himself feels that the high school students and their trivial gossip and dramas are not for him anymore; his mother’s death put him in a place of maturity beyond the reach of his peers. When he begins wearing his black suit daily to school, for example, he knows that others are talking about his choice to wear a suit and many even think he is now a “damn crackpot” (160), but he does not care enough to change his ways.

Matt is indirectly characterized as kind and mature in other ways as well; for example, when Mr.