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Book Cover Tight by Torrey Maldonado

This rite of passage book based in the gritty, urban community of Brooklyn, New York sheds light on what it can mean for a young black boy to find his identity.

The novel Tight follows the life of a 6th grade Afro-Puerto Rican boy who enjoys drawing superheroes, reading comics and hanging out with his friends. Bryan, the main character, is pretty much a no drama type of guy. When he befriends a kid in his community Mike, Brayn is excited to have a “brother” and friend. However, Mike introduces Byran to new ideas of some risky fun.

Bryan struggles with knowing who he is and what it means to grow up in the projects. In Byran’s community, being “tough” is a badge of respect and honor. Byran receives conflicting messages from adults and peers in his life. He values having a relationship with his father who tells him, “…It’s better to be hard and feared than to be liked…”

Which track will Brayn take? Which direction would he go? This novel opens the door for some engaging discussions that would challenge readers to reflect on decision making, associated consequences, identity, society labels vs. individual desires, stereotypes, cultural norms, poverty, family incarceration, being the smart kids, family dynamics and friendship.

This novel is recommended for ages 10-13 years old.

Reading Level: 5 - 6 Grade Level
Page Count: 192
ISBN: 978-1524740573

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Approaching ConflictBlack AuthorsIdentityIndividualityInspirationResilienceSeason 2Self EsteemYoung Adult