Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles

Hey everyone!

Today I’m bringing to you all a review for Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles. 

I’d like to thank Hachette Canada for providing me this ARC is return for a honest review. 

Alright, let’s jump right into the review!


Pages: 304 Pages
Release Date: March 20th, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

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 killed by a police officer. Terrified as his mother unravels and mourning a brother who is now a hashtag, Marvin must learn what justice and freedom really mean.

⭐ ⭐


Official rating: 2.5/5

This novel was one that I was anticipating reading ever since I read the plot, and I was so excited to have received it from HBG Canada. 

Reading this novel went by really quickly, it had a fast flow to it and I was able to stay interested enough throughout it to prevent myself from wanting to put it down. 


Initially I’d like to just mention how much I love the cover of this novel. It’s beautifully set up and I find it to be such a pleasant cover to look at. 


The writing in this novel was something that I found myself being very disappointed in. I found it to be very juvenile at times. Additionally I noted that Marvin had a lot of moments in which he spoke so profoundly, and it just didn’t match up with his personality for me. It felt like he was talking as if he was someone he wasn’t. 

I think the writing was the biggest issue I found with this novel. It just didn’t fit in with what the novel, I thought, was supposed to be. 


As for the overall plot, I thought it was an amazing issue to write about and bring to light, especially in 2018. Police brutality is incredibly relevant right now and it’s important that everyone is informed and understands why this issue is so important for everyone, not only black individuals. 

I did find that at times the plot moved a bit sporadically, something would happen and then right after it did, another significant issue would occur. It felt rushed and as if the writer were trying to jam pack all of this information into a short amount of pages. This did definitely get overwhelming at times and I wished that there was just a little bit less going on. 

There were moments in which I found myself wanting to know more about what was going on, or some of the characters. Again, I think this could easily be fixed by just removing some aspects of the plot that were bit unnecessary. 


Lastly, I’d like to touch upon the characters in this novel. 

The characters in this novel felt one dimensional. They didn’t seem to have a lot of growth, and I didn’t feel like I knew any of the characters well, except for the main protagonist Marvin. Even with Marvin, I wish we got to learn more about him than we were provided with. He made a lot of decisions that didn’t really make sense, and I think that could have been avoided if we had more character details of him. 

Additionally, I found myself having a lot of questions about Marvin and Tyler’s father in this novel, who seemed to play a “large” part in this novel. We got these small tidbits about him, but other than those we didn’t really know exactly what happened with him or who he was. 

That concludes my review for Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles. 

I hope you enjoyed, and thank you so much for reading. Don’t forget to follow my blog as well as my other social media sites linked in the side bar. 

Until next time, 

Rimpy Toor

Published by rimpytoor

Blogger of all things that consume my life (mostly books)

8 thoughts on “Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles

    1. Yeah, I was really hoping to love this novel. The premise is such an important topic right now and I wish I was able to get into this novel more to appreciate it fully (not saying I didn’t appreciate it at all). I just think the parts of the novel I didn’t entirely like, drew away from the topic being discussed unfortunately.


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