New Boy – Tracy Chevalier

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.Goodreads.com

I received this book free from the publisher via netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

I can’t tell you the last time I read Othello, or maybe I don’t want to tell you because it was some time in high school and I don’t want to show my age too much just yet!

That being said, I could barely remember the story of Othello and had to google some notes on it to remember what it was about. And in true Shakespeare style, it was all about love, hate, betrayal and murder.

This novel is obviously toned down to suit younger students, perhaps around 10-12 and up so it’s not as graphic and violent but there is a lot of truth of the original in the racism, the “classism” and the different and somewhat damaging relationships between the students.

Without giving too much away, even though the story is incredibly old, I will say that I did enjoy this and think it would be a great addition to school libraries and home libraries, especially for Primary School kids preparing to go off to High School.

I wouldn’t mind checking out other novels in the Hogarth’s Shakespeare series. It’s always nice to see a story from a new perspective as well as enjoying the classics!

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