Tyler Johnson Was Here

Tyler Johnson Was Here

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...

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Title:Tyler Johnson Was Here
Author:Jay Coles
Rating:

Tyler Johnson Was Here Reviews

  • Kav (xreadingsolacex)

    I hated this book with everything in me. And by that, I mean it’s easily one of my favorite books of all-time.

    is the story of a teen, Marvin Johnson, whose twin brother, Tyler, goes missing and is later found dead.

    is a story of the truth, the ugly truth we want to avoid but black people can't avoid because their safety, their freedom, and their lives are at risk because of their skin color.

    The first I noticed about this books is how unapologetically

    I hated this book with everything in me. And by that, I mean it’s easily one of my favorite books of all-time.

    is the story of a teen, Marvin Johnson, whose twin brother, Tyler, goes missing and is later found dead.

    is a story of the truth, the ugly truth we want to avoid but black people can't avoid because their safety, their freedom, and their lives are at risk because of their skin color.

    The first I noticed about this books is how unapologetically rooted in black culture it is. And I don’t just mean in how it tackles police brutality, but I mean in every sentence it is rooted in black culture. And that is so unbelievably beautiful.

    The second thing I noticed was how casually diverse this book is.

    of our primary characters are black, and I never would have imagined seeing that in a book. Furthermore, there’s also a sapphic secondary character who is honestly my queen. And, to really solidify this, there are three badass black women in this novel.

    This book also celebrates relationships of all kinds - familial relationships, friendships, and romantic relationships. The difference between Marvin and the man who murdered his brother is that Marvin's story, though there was so much valid rage and sadness in it, still had love. The man who murdered Tyler only had hate.

    And whereas, I loved absolutely *everything* about this novel, including the writing, plot, characters, relationships, and more, I can't focus on any of that here because I need to focus on the most important part of this book - how it tackles police brutality.

    I cried so much reading this book [good thing I was in public right?]. I cried when we had to see a cop brutally attack a black teen just for being black. I cried when Tyler went missing. I cried, a lot, when he was found dead. And then, like Marvin, I was angry. I was angry that his brother was ripped from him just because of the color of his skin.

    And this book is not purely fiction. This book is the truth of so many black people out there who became a hashtag for two days and then are forgotten and never get justice. And that is what this book will tell you. It will show you the reality you

    to see.

    And this book is so emotionally powerful. I have a sister who is basically my best friend, and I just couldn’t shake that feeling of the love I have for her while reading this and seeing Marvin lose his best friend, his other half.

    It was goddamn painful reading this book. But it’s a book we all need to read because we need to see the truth. We need to acknowledge that Tyler and Marvin's story is not fiction, it’s the reality for black people throughout America.

    Read this book. Please.

  • April (Aprilius Maximus)

    wowowowowowowowowowowowowow

  • Elise (TheBookishActress)

    A story about police brutality, focused around a boy whose brother is shot by a police officer. And, as I think most of you may have guessed, the shoo

    A story about police brutality, focused around a boy whose brother is shot by a police officer. And, as I think most of you may have guessed, the shooting occurred unprovoked.

    I feel as if it's hard to review good issue books. Because

    is undoubtedly important, but with fantastic books about the same topic like

    and

    , I know that many people will skip it. But here's the thing:

    . With excellent characters and a fantastic emotional heart, this book deserves so much more than being written off as generic or not worth the read.

    The main strength of

    is

    With a well-written sense of grief and of empowerment shadowing the book, Coles' writing feels authentic and from-the-heart. Despite not much specific development, each character feels just as true to heart. And to be quite honest,

    If someone told sixth-grade-me that this many books I picked up would have casually sapphic side characters and all-black casts, I would definitely not have believed them. I am so sorry to keep reiterating this, but

    Basically only not a five because it’s very slice-of-lifey and that’s just never going to be my thing. But if brief slice-of-life type books are your thing, and even if they're not?

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  • C.G. Drews

    And I am just a bucket of sad right now...this one hit hard. I'm really glad books like this are getting published (and #ownvoices narratives are so important) so when I say "this is depressing" I don't mean it's something that shouldn't be said!! We need to be told these types of stories again and again until the world changes.

    But seriously I am just 😭😭

    . It is so soft™ and I feel like it

    And I am just a bucket of sad right now...this one hit hard. I'm really glad books like this are getting published (and #ownvoices narratives are so important) so when I say "this is depressing" I don't mean it's something that shouldn't be said!! We need to be told these types of stories again and again until the world changes.

    But seriously I am just 😭😭

    . It is so soft™ and I feel like it's such an important cover because here is are flowers and life and a boy who deserves better and it's just sUCH a good cover.

    And I cannot freaking comprehend how it would be to live like these black teens have to live. Like when Marvin is going to a protest his mother literally says

    ...like not even a phone...so he can't be mistaken for being armed. Look I'm Australian, so this is mind-boggling to me, (not that Australia isn't hella racist, because it is...but at least we don't have gun violence like this). And there's one scene where Marvin and his friends are litearlly at a store BUYING SNACKS and they nearly got shot for "shoplifting". Like wtf, America, what. is. going. on. Even if they were shoplifting (but it was purely assuming they were because they're black and this is so rotten) you do not get shot for that??!??

    I'm glad that's in there. I can imagine this book will be so important to so many black teens (and all types of teens because everyone should be reading books like this!) but just to give encouragement as well as give you room to cry and be angry.

    (Also I LOVE how emotional the characters were!! Marvin cried and he cried a lot and I just !! I think it's important for books to show emotional boys.)

    Which isn't really a negative! I just felt a few times it needed a bit more of a wordsmithing hone but that could just personal taste too. Aaaand I wasn't a super fan of the romance just because, eh??! I felt Faith was a bit one-dimensional and romance in books that deal about really dark/brutal topics always feels a bit thrown in to me. (But I'm a super unromantic person so.)

    I'm glad I read it and got to meet Marvin and take this tumultuous journey with him.😭

  • Abida's Book Adventures

    AHHHH this book is amazing!!! I have never cried so much in my life before (except when I'm cutting an onion.) This book will give you the feels, you will laugh, cry, and get mad. I have never read a book like this before. On a side note, can we please take a moment to appreciate the book cover; it is gorgeous!

    AHHHH this book is amazing!!! I have never cried so much in my life before (except when I'm cutting an onion.) This book will give you the feels, you will laugh, cry, and get mad. I have never read a book like this before. On a side note, can we please take a moment to appreciate the book cover; it is gorgeous!

    I consider myself not to be political on Goodreads. It's my happy place, where I find new books read. However, reading this book makes me realize how the fiction we read can easily be real. There are people out there who truly hate other races and cultures for no reason. Living in 2018 one would think that the world is a safe and accepting place, but the truth is that we are nowhere near close to acceptance. We live in the world where scenarios like these are being so common and it's just not enough to like and share a post. Something has to be done.

    Marvin is truly an inspirational character. I love him, I wish I knew more people like Marvin. His love for his brother was mesmerizing. Reading about Marvin’s perspective as a Black boy was sad. Unfortunately, I have not read enough books with an African American main character, and even fewer books with an African American male. I wish that there were more books with black characters in without that being the main focus.

    Marvin's Mama's role was amazing, she had me in tears more than once. On the other hand, the remaining character felt underdeveloped and noticed. I felt as though we needed to know about the surrounding characters and their struggles.

    The plot was great! However, there were a lot of parts in the book where At the end of this book, I was felt feeling a little hopeless and hopeful at the same. When I finished the book I couldn't believe that I finished the book; it was bittersweet. There were many parts in the book where the book didn’t fully come together, some parts seemed a little unnecessary or too long.

    Originally I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars but after a few days, I was about to process my thoughts and critique the book better. The reason why I changed the rating because this book seemed to be missing a few things. Some the character seemed to be underdeveloped. Also, the pace of the book seemed to be a little off.

    Overall I would recommend this book to anyone. This book showed the other side of the story, it made me realize how normal these tragedies are occurring and how little is being done about it. Reading this book was a great experience.

  • Lola  Reviewer

    meets

    .

    3.5 stars. This is

    . Yes, Marvin’s brother, Tyler Johnson, disappears and, yes, Marvin does make it his mission to find him and bring him home, but this situation is dealt with quicker than I had anticipated and it’s clear, in hindsight, that the author re

    meets

    .

    3.5 stars. This is

    . Yes, Marvin’s brother, Tyler Johnson, disappears and, yes, Marvin does make it his mission to find him and bring him home, but this situation is dealt with quicker than I had anticipated and it’s clear, in hindsight, that the author really didn’t mean to focus on the disappearance more than it was necessary to the storyline.

    This story focuses on racial issues in the United States. I could go as far as to say that it’s more of a demonstration of the way black people and racially-diverse people in general are treated by police and school teachers—meaning authority figures—as well as the rest of the population in general. Marvin knows the world he is living in, as his mother made sure he never forgot white people rule it, but he still never expected to witness all that he did and for his life to change so tremendously.

    Marvin is an honest hero. There is nothing he is keeping from up, the readers, making him reliable, unlike his brother who got involved with the wrong crowd. I was glad for his knowledge and understanding, seeing that clueless and naïve characters do not belong in such a novel. Thank goodness there weren’t any, as there is a difference between introducing a problem and exploring it—this author does the latter. He doesn’t simply say that black people are targeted by the police; he shows us how that happens and under which conditions.

    The story is intense—which is both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s a good thing because it makes you feel so many emotions from happiness to anger, but at the same time there is such a huge amount of police brutality and racism the hero is exposed to in a very short amount of time that it makes me question if Marvin’s experience truly is one hundred percent authentic. But it’s also true that I’m not black, nor am living in the USA, so this is really my own judgement.

    The other thing is the romance. Was it necessary? The love interest is a lovely girl and I’m happy Marvin got something beautiful out of this terrible experience, but I never felt the butterflies in my stomach the hero supposedly did. I’m going to answer my own question: It was not necessary—an extra element that I, personally, could have done without.

    Not bad at all. I hope more stories such as this one become published.

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  • Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell

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    Wow, I really wasn't a fan of this one at all and that bums me out, because I was fully expecting to love TYLER JOHNSON WAS HERE. Since my feelings about this are so complicated and the subject matter is so delicate, I'm going to list out my thoughts in bullet points. (Bullet points are so much easier!)

    Some thoughts:

    1.

    , the publication of books like THE HATE U GIVE

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    Wow, I really wasn't a fan of this one at all and that bums me out, because I was fully expecting to love TYLER JOHNSON WAS HERE. Since my feelings about this are so complicated and the subject matter is so delicate, I'm going to list out my thoughts in bullet points. (Bullet points are so much easier!)

    Some thoughts:

    1.

    , the publication of books like THE HATE U GIVE and TYLER JOHNSON WAS HERE not only gives the Black Lives Matter movement more exposure, it puts books featuring kids of color into the hands of actual kids of color with stories that they can relate to (whether in a good or bad way). That's nothing to sneeze at, and I can appreciate the value of books like TYLER JOHNSON WAS HERE even if I don't enjoy them.

    2.

    They are very similar stories: two high school kids of color who feel a lot of pressure to "act white" in order to be successful, who live in a low-income/racially diverse area with lots of criminal/gang activity, whose lives are torn apart by police brutality spurred on by racial discrimination that ends up starting a local movement. I don't think the similarity is a bad thing, because like I said before, Black Lives Matter is a movement representing real victims of police brutality, and those narratives are important. But it's my opinion that THE HATE U GIVE is a much better book, and handles the subject matter better.

    3.

    I didn't get much of a sense of who Tyler was, whereas the main character in THUG all but leaped from the pages. I would have liked to have gotten a better sense of his character, because that might have made me like him more. He just felt very bland and passive to me, and I couldn't figure out if that was meant to be intentional or not. His choices, particularly the one at the end involving his future, didn't make sense and seemed to be fueled for the sake of keeping the story moving. All of his friends are very one-note, and his sort-of love interest, when she appears, kind of just feels like the generic manic pixie dreamgirl type.

    4.

    This kind of ties into the third bullet point - all the bad people in this book, like the cops and the mean principal and the well-meaning, but white guilt apologist "I-have-a-diversity-checklist-in-my-back-pocket-and-that-checklist-says-I-must-be-nice-to-you-for-diversity-related-reasons" MIT representative are just hilarious stereotypes of white people being shitty in various shitty ways. That cop, man. What the actual fresh hell was he doing. What a psychopath. I couldn't help but compare the cop scenes in here with the cop scene in THUG, where the cop did what he did because his racism surfaced during a snap decision he made because he was afraid. Here, it was just like the cop decided he was going to be all, "Yaaaaay! Power abuse is fun!"

    I'm glad I was approved for an advance reader copy of this book and I'm sorry I didn't like this more. I see that at least some of my friends on Goodreads really enjoyed this book, so maybe you will, too.

    1.5 to 2 stars

  • Ricky

    Angie Thomas is giving us the BLM masterpiece of 2017, of that I'm sure.

    And Jay Coles is giving us the BLM masterpiece of 2018, of that I'm equally sure.

    And THAT COVER. You better love it or we can't be friends!

  • ✨    jamieson   ✨

    THIS COVER

    i love that ya puts soft black boys on their covers now

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