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Publishers Weekly, 2008-01-21 PW gave a starred review to this first novel set in the '50s, about a Virginia teen who is the first "colored" student to attend an exclusive Connecticut boarding school. Ages 12-up. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2005-12-12 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. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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