New Boy: Book summary and reviews of New Boy by Tracy Chevalier

New Boy

Hogarth Shakespeare series

by Tracy Chevalier

New Boy by Tracy Chevalier X
New Boy by Tracy Chevalier
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  • Published in USA  May 2017
    208 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

William Shakespeare's Othello retold as New Boy.

Arriving at his fifth school in as many years, 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 1970s 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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"With breathtaking urgency, Chevalier brings Othello to a 1970s suburban elementary school outside Washington, D.C., where the playground is as rife with poisonous intrigue as any monarch's court… Chevalier's brilliantly concentrated and galvanizing improvisation thoroughly exposes the malignancy and tragedy of racism, sexism, jealousy, and fear." - Booklist

"By compressing everything into one morning and afternoon, Chevalier rushes some action, and while the reader may recognize how children tend to amplify emotions, moments are occasionally difficult to believe." - Publishers Weekly

"Though this is an interesting exercise, and Chevalier captures the brutality of the playground, the emotional lives of 12-year-olds don't quite seem up to the weight of Shakespearean tragedy." - Library Journal

"This follow-the-plot-dots modernization unfortunately falls flat due to Chevalier's heavy-handedness in turning Othello into a polemic on the evils of American racism and her awkward shoehorning of tween angst into Shakespearian tragedy." - Kirkus

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Author Information

Tracy Chevalier Author Biography

Tracy Chevalier was born in Washington, DC but has lived in England all her adult life. She now has dual citizenship. She has a BA in English from Oberlin College, Ohio and an MA in creative writing from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, England. She lives in London with her English husband and son. Before turning to writing full-time, she was a reference book editor for several years. She has written 7 novels. Her second novel, Girl with a Pearl Earring, won the Barnes and Noble Discover Award, sold 4 million copies worldwide, and was made into a film starring Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson.

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