New Boy (Hogarth Shakespeare) by Tracy Chevalier book review

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Synopsis

Arriving at his fifth school in as many years, a diplomat’s son, Osei Kokote, knows he needs an ally if he is to survive his first day so he’s lucky to hit it off with Dee, the most popular girl in school. But one student can’t stand to witness this budding relationship: Ian decides to destroy the friendship between the black boy and the golden girl. By the end of the day, the school and its key players – teachers and pupils alike – will never be the same again.

The tragedy of Othello is transposed to a 1970’s suburban Washington schoolyard, where kids fall in and out of love with each other before lunchtime, and practice a casual racism picked up from their parents and teachers. Peeking over the shoulders of four 11 year olds Osei, Dee, Ian, and his reluctant girlfriend Mimi, Tracy Chevalier’s powerful drama of friends torn apart by jealousy, bullying and betrayal will leave you reeling.

Review

I really enjoyed this installment of the Hogarth Shakespeare. It was wonderfully done with few flaws. I liked how the hierarchies between the classmates was written as it is quite believable and relateable. The racism that was brought to light was done in a politically sound way and contributed to the story, as it showed how it is learned vs being innate. This shows us how we also come to believe things and how opinion can be easily swayed. This story shows us how children grow up and when facing puberty handle their emotions and how they come to term with the line of being an adult/ child and right vs wrong. The ending though in inevitable was well timed. 4 stars from me!

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