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NEW BOY BY TRACY CHEVALIER

NewBoy4 / 5 STARS Published 5/16/17

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.

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It’s amazing how one little rumor or lie can create such disaster. How so much hate and jealousy can make people do unthinkable things but in the end hate will always destroy you. Even today things like this happen all the time. I have seen friends turn on friends and relationships destroyed over he said she said. All it takes is one small stone to make a huge ripple in the water.

Starting this book I was intrigued by the storyline, not knowing what to expect since I have never read Shakespeare’s Othello (in school or now), nor did I know about the Hogarth Shakespeare series. But once I got into reading the book it started to remind me of a movie I saw years ago called “O” that came out in 2001 that I found out was also based on Shakespeare’s Othello. Even though the plots were the same I enjoyed it from a child’s point of view and how they handled every situation. From love, hate, jealousy, and racism. It was beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time.

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