Synopses & Reviews
“This is history without the sensationalism, in which small acts of resistance eventually change the rules.”—New York Times Book Review “The strong cast of characters, steady progression of events, realistic dialogue, historical facts, touch of romance, and coming-of-age awareness and reflection will appeal to readers.”—School Library Journal In this compelling debut novel, a sixteen-year-old African American boy discovers the world—and himself—when he integrates an all-white boarding school in the 1950s.
"Houston convincingly gets inside a young man's mind as he grapples with major issues confronting him and his race. Wanting something better than a segregated education in 1950s Virginia, high school sophomore Rob Garrett enrolls as the first African-American student at an exclusive Connecticut boarding school. Alone in many ways for the first time, Rob searches his soul about issues that still divide American society. He likens his status to Jackie Robinson and accepts being under the microscope, aware that he has 'an obligation not only to myself but to my family and the race,' and observes other prejudices, as both Italian and Jewish classmates face ridicule. In the author's capable hands, the teen's trip to Harlem to visit his schoolteacher cousin becomes an exploration of the segregationist movement within black society: Rob encounters Malcolm X and his followers, whose militancy clashes with how Rob has been taught to deal with the everyday indignities of segregation. Meanwhile, his high school friends are getting involved in lunch counter sit-ins to demand equal treatment. By focusing on one individual's journey, Houston also lays bare the searching questions of a torn society (at one point Rob says to his cousin, 'From the minute we get up in the morning until we go to bed, everything we say ends up becoming a discussion about race'). Though Rob's insights occasionally seem wiser than his years, events unfold entirely in his point-of-view, inserting readers directly into history-making events of the not-so-distant past. Ages 12-up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[A] powerful debut novel. . . . A great addition to the history shelves, this brings up much for discussion about then and now." --Booklist, Starred Review
"This is history without the sensationalism, in which small acts of resistance eventually change the rules." —The New York Times Book Review
"Houston's depiction of racism during the 1950s is brutally honest. . . . With a likeable narator making tough decisions, New Boy is bound to elicit lively discussions." —Book Page
"A strongly effective work of historical fiction." —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Fifteen-year-old Rob Garrett wants nothing more than to escape the segregated South and prove himself. But in late 1950s Virginia, opportunity doesnt come easily to an African American. So Robs parents take the unusual step of enrolling their son in a Connecticut boarding school, where he will have the best education available. He will also be the first student of color in the schools history. No matter—Rob Garrett is on his way.
But times are changing. While Rob is experiencing the privilege and isolation of private school, a movement is rising back home. Men and women are organizing, demanding an end to segregation, and in Robs hometown, his friends are on the verge of taking action. There is even talk about sitting in at a lunch counter that refuses to serve black people. How can Rob hope to make a difference when hes a world away?
A young African-American boy discovers the world--and himself--when he integrates an all-white boarding school in the 1950s.
About the Author
Julian Houston was born in Richmond, Virginia, and educated in the public schools of that city before attending the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut. He attended Boston University and was a community organizer in Harlem during the civil rights movement. He is now an associate justice of the Superior Court of Massachusetts. Julian Houston lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, with his wife and family.