O felt her presence behind him like a fire at his back.
Arriving at his fourth school in six 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 practise a casual racism picked up from their parents and teachers. Watching 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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Manipulation in a primary school.
Hogarth Shakespeare: The hits just keep on comin'
I thought the setting was inspired. Beyond mere superlatives and watery qualifiers. The organised chaos of the school playground. Take me home mama. The hierarchies of boys - the fast changing relationships of girls. Climbing frames and kickball. Jump ropes and double dutch. Who can twirl; who can jump. Who's in - who's out. Kid world to the fore. Adult world as background. Kudos to Tracy Chevalier and kudos to Prentice Onayemi for keeping it real. I laughed and cried the whole time I listened owing to the book's setting. I'm going to do it. I'll shove in a superlative. Genius.
Every book published in the Hogarth Shakespeare series has been memorable and for all the right reasons. Character,challenges, setting, pace, resolution, a ha moments, fun, 'good words' and above all - soul satisfying. I could go on. For me New Boy surpassed the others for its setting and young characters. Someone picked a inspirational narrator.
For the editors of the series it is my profound hope that Julius Caesar - which has one of the greatest boardroom scenes in all literature (Act IV scene I) - will also be adapted.