Tight

by Torrey Maldonado

Both of Bryan’s parents encourage him to spend time with Mike, a new kid in... read more

Both of Bryan’s parents encourage him to spend time with Mike, a new kid in their Brooklyn projects. He and Mike have a lot in common, from fathers who’ve been in jail to a love of superhero comics and drawing. Bryan, who is Puerto Rican, likes when Mike, who is African American, says they’re brothers, even if he’s a little jealous of the attention his dad gives Mike. But Mike is sometimes selfish, and mean for no reason. He creates drama just to see what will happen. Bryan can’t deny some of the drama is thrilling, like jumping onto the back of a subway train. Yet when things fall apart, Mike doesn’t stick around and take his share of the blame. It makes Bryan angry, and despite the fact that Bryan isn’t tough (something he’s keenly aware he’s judged for), he knows he has a temper, and he’s worried he’ll go off, which is exactly how his dad ended up in jail. At what point, he wonders, is a friend no longer a friend? There isn’t an easy answer, and it only gets harder when Bryan’s parents tell him to be honest with Mike, but not give up on him completely. Bryan’s struggle is so relatable, and so realistically complex, as he comes to realize the voice he needs to listen is his own. (Ages 9–13)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2019

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