Set in 1970s Washington, D.C., and spanning a school day, New Boy explores jealousy, love, friendship, and racism.
Osei Kokote, a diplomat's son, is staring at his fourth school in six years. The attention given to his colour is surpassed only by the attention that his relationship with the most popular girl at the all-white school garners. This is where the trouble really begins. Not everyone is as intrigued and impressed with O as Dee is, and one boy in particular makes it his mission to destroy the relationship. By the end of the day, the school and its students will be left reeling, and will never be the same.
I've been enamoured with Chevalier's work since Girl With a Pearl Earring and have been waiting for her to deliver something just as captivating and she does just this with New Boy. Chevalier doesn't shy away from the huge undertaking/responsibility of retelling Shakespeare's Othello—her compact version delivers a sucker punch and I encourage you to pick it up.