The first book I read by Walter Dean Myers was Crystal. I had just started working in the children's and YA section of the bookstore. I was still in the process of getting acquainted with the authors and their books.
When I picked up Crystal, I didn't know Myers was known for his male protagonist or that he was the first YA author to be awarded the Printz for Monster. At the time I was simply in search of a good story. I was attracted to the Black girl on the cover of Crystal and I got exactly what I wanted. A few months later I read Monster and wow. It's an amazing book. After Monster, Walter Dean Myers became a go to author for me. I would highly recommend him to customers and I always looked forward to his next book.
For a long time Myers has been an answer to two YA questions. "Where are all the books for boys?" and "Where are all the books featuring Black boys?"
Its inevitable that someone will say "Walter Dean Myers", and that's how it should be. Myers has written some great books with Black male protagonist. As good as Myers books have been in the past, it was never right for him to be the only Black male author recognized for writing Black male protagonist.
I never questioned this when I liked what Myers wrote though I should have. Now, since the last few Myers novels haven't been good, its all I can think about. The last one I really liked was Dope Sick.
I will always love Monster, Fallen Angels, Sunrise Over Fallujah, Crystal and many other titles by Myers. I like to give authors I love the benefit of the doubt and second chances. "That so -so book was a bad fluke. The next one will be better." Its been difficult but I had to accept what was in front of me for what it was, Myers novels have lost the magic.
I loved Charles R Smith's YA novel Chameleon . Its one of the best coming of age stories I've read in awhile.. I got very lucky and stumbled upon it. There was no buzz around it, which is a shame My review, Edi's , Jodie's and Ari's
Author Derrick Barnes has a YA novel coming out in November called We Could Be Brothers I am a fan of Barnes work. I am looking forward to reading We Could Be Brothers. I have my fingers crossed that it doesn't have a quiet release like Chameleon.
Its time other Black male YA authors who write Black male protagonist are recognized and praised for the work they do. One author should not be expected to pen the voices of many.