Title: New Boy
Author: Tracy Chevalier
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
Release Date: May 11, 2017
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.
This is a very clever retelling of Shakespeare’s classic play, Othello.
What I love most about this story is that it can stand alone. It is not just an adaptation of Othello. If I didn’t know that this was a retelling before I read it, I would have thought it was a unique story.
It is a realistic portrayal of schoolyard drama. The whole story takes place during one school day. A lot can change within a day for children, with relationships being made and broken, so I can see these things happening in real life.
I also liked that the story gave different perspectives of the events. We get to see what Dee, Osei, Mimi, and Ian do and what they think. I love the way that Shakespeare’s characters have been translated into children. The dramatic characters have great personalities for emotional kids.
I loved this story. I just wish I had read it sooner! It is one of my favourite Shakespeare retellings!