New Boy by Tracy ChevalierNew Boy by Tracy Chevaliersticker-burst

New Boy

byTracy Chevalier

Paperback | May 16, 2017

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"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—“O” for short—knows he needs an ally if he is to survive his first day, so he is lucky to hit it off with Dee, the most popular girl in school. But one boy, used to holding sway in the world of the school­yard, can’t stand to witness the budding relationship. When Ian decides to destroy the friendship between the black boy and the golden girl, the school and its key players—teachers and pupils alike—will never be the same again.
 
The tragedy of Othello is vividly transposed to a 1970s suburban Washington school, 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. The world of preadolescents is as passionate and intense, if not more so, as that of adults. Drawing us into the lives and emotions of four eleven-year-olds—Osei, Dee, Ian and his reluctant girlfriend Mimi—Tracy Chevalier’s powerful drama of friends torn apart by love and jealousy, bullying and betrayal, is as moving as it is enthralling. It is an unfor­gettable novel.

Heather's Review

New Boy is a modern retelling of Othello by Tracy Chevalier, author of Girl With A Pearl Earring. It is set in the 1970s on a suburban school playground taking place over a single school day – with recesses and lunch breaks creating the acts. The young characters crackle with adult energy and desires, and it culminates with an inte...

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TRACY CHEVALIER is best known for her historical novels, including the international bestseller Girl with a Pearl Earring and, most recently, At the Edge of the Orchard. She is also editor of Reader, I Married Him: Stories Inspired by Jane Eyre. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and has honorary doctorates from her al...
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Title:New BoyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 7.99 × 5.18 × 0.59 inPublished:May 16, 2017Publisher:Knopf CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0345809920

ISBN - 13:9780345809926

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good Liked this book. A good reselling.
Date published: 2017-10-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from yes Such an inspiring and interesting read, simply could not put it down! Great job!
Date published: 2017-09-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting Read I enjoyed revisiting Othello through this retelling. It gives the themes of the play an entirely new life... I would definitely recommend this novel.
Date published: 2017-09-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it! Very interesting topics and themes covered in this book. I enjoyed it!
Date published: 2017-07-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from An intersection of important themes in a short book 3.5 stars. A modern and disturbing adaptation of Shakespeare's Othello. Race, gender norms and ranger of personalities come alive in a playground drama that deals with loyalty, friendship, power and manipulative behaviour.
Date published: 2017-07-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Big Themes in a Small Setting I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was very easy to get a sense of the characters of this book and I was surprised by how easy it was to go back to childhood and playground politics. This book was based on Shakespeare's Othello, and I really liked how the author was able to take those big themes and story idea and place them in a school yard. Bravo.
Date published: 2017-07-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting take on Othello Liked it a lot. Interesting perspectives - liked how the teacher's racism is viewed by the students to add a depth of perspective. The heightened emotions and extremes of the kids over the course of the day really reflected the over-dramatics of Othello. Well written. A quick read.
Date published: 2017-06-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A brilliant re-telling of the Othello story This novel was a brilliant re-telling of the Othello story by Shakespeare. Although I knew the Shakespeare version, the story still maintained a dramatic tension that pulls one along toward the ending. Having grown up in exactly that kind of school setting outside Washington, DC in the era in which the book was placed - right down to the blocks of 4 desks pushed together, I also could feel the relationships, the hopes, and the worries of those children. The black-white tension was not over-written - that is how it was in suburban schools. Spoiler alert.... While the ending does not follow the Othello story exactly, that seems quite fitting in this version based on children's relationships. I was actually a bit relieved. ;-)
Date published: 2017-06-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heather's Pick New Boy is a modern retelling of Othello by Tracy Chevalier, author of Girl With A Pearl Earring. It is set in the 1970s on a suburban school playground taking place over a single school day – with recesses and lunch breaks creating the acts. The young characters crackle with adult energy and desires, and it culminates with an intense finish that will leave you racing towards the end. This book is also a fresh way for students who are studying Othello to experience Shakespeare.
Date published: 2017-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it I was super excited to buy this book and did not disappoint!
Date published: 2017-06-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved Making Shakespeare more relevant and accessible to today’s society, I was so excited to read New Boy, by Tracy Chevalier, which was a play on the Shakespearean classic, Othello. I wasn’t sure what to expect going in as I hadn’t read any of the other titles I this series and have read some pretty awful Shakespeare retellings over the year, but, I must say, after finishing this book, I was impressed. Read more… Told on the backdrop of a school’s playground in the 1970s, Shakespeare’s tragedy unfolds with an eleven-year-old diplomat’s son, Osei (known as O) and his new friend, Dee. Ian, another student who cannot seem to handle this budding relationship, decides to put a stop to it. Anyone who is familiar with Othello will know the general direction that this novel will take but the new cast and scene breathe whole new life into this story. I loved the setting of it being on a school playground. Having taught grade school aged children, I understand that some serious drama could unfold on the playground and Chevalier uses this to weave a story surrounding jealousy, bullying, young love and betrayal. I felt like this was a brilliant retelling and would love to see this incorporated into classrooms; I think it would amazing to have youth actually connecting to themes in Shakespeare without being bogged down by the language.
Date published: 2017-05-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Really well written 3.5 star read. I will admit these two facts: I've never read a Tracy Chevalier book, nor have I studied Shakespeare's Othello (although I knew the premise). With that out of the way, I can attest that this was a wonderful read. I didn't end up giving it 4 stars because I felt that at times, rather than happen in a elementary school setting, it would have been more believable in a college setting, or maybe as young adults, starting off their working careers. That said ... The writing is wonderful. Chevalier was able to create such distinct voices; Osei, Dee, Mimi, Blanca, Ian, Casper, the teachers - all of them felt authentic, especially to the background of 1974 Washington DC. Rather like a play, Chevalier broke the story up into 5 parts: pre-bell & first period, first recess, lunch, second recess and finally after school. Each part was told in alternating perspectives - jumping from Dee's observations and experiences to Mimi to Ian to Osei; never repeating the same things, each narrator providing a clearer understanding of what is about to happen. This wasn't simply a story about race - it also involved the very real dynamics of the power struggle in a school; who is popular vs. who has power. Who is liked vs. who is feared. The popular girl vs. the strange girl. Each dynamic influenced the story and moved it forward. This book will entice you with it's strong writing, the characters and it's pace. Recommended read - especially if teachers wanted it studied in schools as a contrast to the original Othello.
Date published: 2017-05-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding Highly recommend this book
Date published: 2017-05-23

Read from the Book

Dee noticed him before anyone else. She was glad of that, held on to it. It made her feel special to have him to herself for a few seconds, before the world around them skipped a beat and did not recover for the restof the day.The playground was busy before school. Enough children had arrived early that games of jacks and kickball and hopscotch had begun, to be abandoned when the bell rang. Dee herself had not been early—her mother had sent her upstairs to change her top for something looser, saying Dee had spilled egg on it, though Dee herself couldn’t see any yolk. She’d had to run part of the way to school, braids thumping against her back, until the stream of students heading the same direction reassured her she was not late. She had gotten to the playground with a minute to spare before the first bell rang.There hadn’t been enough time to join her best friend, Mimi, jumping Double Dutch with the other girls, so instead Dee had headed to the playground entrance into the building, where Mr. Brabant was standing with other teachers, waiting for the class lines to form. Her teacher had a short, angled haircut that squared his head, and stood very straight. Someone told Dee he had fought in Vietnam. Dee was not the top student in class—that prize went to prim Patty—but she liked to please Mr. Brabant when she could, enough to make him notice her, though she knew she was sometimes called a teacher’s pet.She took her place at the front of the line now, and looked around, her eyes on the Double-Dutch girls still jumping rope. Then she spotted him, a motionless presence by the merry‑go‑round. Four boys were spinning on it—Ian and Rod and two boys from fourth grade. They were going so fast that Dee was sure one of the teachers would stop them. Once a boy had been flung off and broken an arm. The two fourth graders looked scared, but could not control the merry‑‑go‑‑round, as Ian was expertly kicking the ground to keep up the speed.The boy standing near the frenetic motion was not dressed like the other boys, casual in their jeans and T‑‑shirts and sneakers. Instead he wore gray flared pants, a white short-sleeve shirt, and black shoes, like a uniform a private school student would wear. But it was his skin that stood out, its color reminding Dee of bears she’d seen at the zoo a few months before, on a school field trip. Though they were called black bears, their fur was actually deep brown, with a reddish tint at the tips. They had mostly slept, or sniffed at the pile of grubs the keeper had dumped in the pen for them. Only when Rod threw a stick at the animals to impress Dee did one of the bears react, baring its yellow teeth and growling so that the children shrieked and laughed. Dee had not joined in, though; she had frowned at Rod and turned away.The new boy was not watching the merry‑go‑round, but studying the L‑shaped building. It was a typical suburban elementary school, built eight years before, and looked like two red-brick shoeboxes unimaginatively shoved together. When Dee had started kindergarten it still had a new building smell to it. Now, though, it was like a dress she had worn many times, with its tears and stains and marks where the hem had been let down. She knew every classroom, every staircase, every handrail, every bathroom cubicle. She knew every foot of the playground too, as well as the younger students’ playground on the other side of the building. Dee had fallen off the swings, torn her tights on the slide, gotten stuck at the top of the jungle gym when she became too scared to climb down. Once she had declared one half of the playground Girl Town, and she and Mimi and Blanca and Jennifer had chased away any boy who dared to cross the line. She had hidden with others around the corner near the gym entrance, where teachers on duty couldn’t see them and they could try on lipstick and read comics and play spin the bottle. She had lived her life on the playground, laughed and cried and had crushes and formed friendships and made few enemies. It was her world, so familiar she took it for granted. In a month she would be leaving it for junior high.Now someone new and different had entered the territory, and this made Dee look at the space anew and suddenly find it shabby, and herself an alien in it.Like him.He was moving now. Not like a bear, with its bulky, lumbering gait. More like a wolf, or—Dee tried to think of dark animals—a panther, scaled up from house cats. Whatever he was thinking—probably about being the new boy in a playground full of strangers the opposite color from him—he padded toward the school doors where the teachers waited with the unconscious assuredness of someone who knows how his body works. Dee felt her chest tighten. She drew in a breath.

Editorial Reviews

“Othello as a seventies schoolyard drama? Yes, it works marvelously. The emotions of emerging adolescence are a potent brew, with friendships, rivalries, budding sexuality and the desire to fit in combining unflinchingly with the racism of the teachers (and some of the pupils). This is an evocative retelling of Shakespeare, and his characters’ interactions and motivations fit surprisingly well into the brutal world of childhood.” —Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat“[H]ighly readable and immaculately researched. . . . [A] powerful exploration of betrayal and bullying—and casual racism.” —Deborah Dundas, Toronto Star “This powerful drama of friends torn apart by love, jealousy and racism, bullying and betraying, makes New Boy an unforgettable novel.” —Heather Reisman, Indigo founder and CEO, CTV News (interview)   “Like all modern readings of Othello, Chevalier’s stresses not just the personal . . . but also the social. . . . Structurally, the novel is a marvel.” —Maclean’s “[T]his new version of Othello. . . . reframes the story with modern issues of race, while staying true to the original tale of a villain who will stop at nothing to take his revenge.” —Rebecca Zamon, The Huffington Post (Canada) “[D]on’t let the cast of schoolchildren fool you into thinking that this novel was written for children. One would hope that New Boy, as well as the others in the Hogarth Shakespeare series . . . will one day be plopped down onto the desks of students . . . This is the perfect answer to the constant student question—why do we have to read this old thing?—and it is proof of the usual teacher response—because it is still relevant. . . . New Boy not only allows a better understanding of Othello the play, but also the continuing issues of racism in our society. . . . Chevalier’s retelling brings it home and makes us question if our society today is really any better.” —Blair Mlotek, National Post  “[T]houghtfully done, and shows all the craft one would expect from the author of The Girl with the Pearl Earring.” —Owen Richardson, The Sydney Morning Herald“What Chevalier has done is recast the play to illuminate the peculiar trials of our era. . . . In Chevalier’s handling, the insidious manipulations of Othello translate smoothly to the dynamics of a sixth-grade playground, with all its skinned-knee passions and hopscotch rules.” —Ron Charles, The Washington Post “Superbly entrancing. . . . With breathtaking urgency, Chevalier brings Othello to a 1970s suburban elementary school outside Washington, DC, 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“To add urgency to an everyday story of high-school bullying, [Chevalier] compresses the action into the cycle of a school day. . . . It’s a clever strategy, executed with typical aplomb by the gifted author of Girl With a Pearl Earring. . . . New Boy is an often inspired riff on adolescence and alienation.” —The Guardian “Chevalier's book might be set in the seventies, but the feelings at play will resonate with anyone no matter their age. It’s a wonderful and stirring read in its own right—even if one has never read Othello—but fans of Shakespeare will especially enjoy the way Chevalier has modernized small details from the play for her version.” —Elena Pruitt, The Journal Gazette & Times Courier (Charleston)  “Though set over a single school day, New Boy echoes with centuries of America’s history of racial conflict. . . . The school playground is a place for testing boundaries, and Chevalier is in her element, evoking its conflicts and tensions. . . . Osei’s struggle to find a safe space in this hostile environment is genuinely moving.” —Anita Sethi, iNews (UK)  “Chevalier manages to turn this story into a true tragedy, and to label it as young adult literature shortchanges this novella. . . . New Boy will appeal to adult Shakespeare lovers and to young adults who may only know Shakespeare because of a couple teenage lovers in Verona.” —Joseph Peschel, The News & Observer