In Bryan’s Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, the worst thing you can be is soft. Back down from a fight, apologize or just talk your problems out—you’re soft.
But Bryan’s a good kid. He’s quiet, studious and totally bananas for comic books. It still kind of irks him when his big sister calls him soft, but the last thing he wants in his life is more drama. He’s seen plenty of that as the projects are brimming with it. His in-and-out-of-jail dad hangs out on the corner, all but courting it. But Bryan? Nah. Give him the latest Black Panther comic, a quiet room to read in, and he’s perfectly content, soft or not.
But when Bryan meets Mike, everything changes. Things get tight. At first, it’s a good tight—the tightness of friends who bond over comics and common interests. But when Mike starts urging Bryan to skip class or to hop the subway turnstiles and run from the cops, their relationship turns a new kind of tight, a tense tight, like a rope threatening to snap any moment.
With Tight, the poignant tale of a young Puerto Rican-American struggling to find his place in a world awash in drama, author Torrey Maldonado questions the macho masculinity that has ensnared and imperiled American boys for so long. He shows us how hard it can be to overcome our anger and break free from cultural norms, no matter how outdated or dangerous they may be.
With its understated prose, evocative dialogue and much-needed message, Tight is essential reading.