Black and White

( 71 )


Two star high school basketball players, one black and one white, experience the justice system differently after committing a crime together and getting caught.
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Two star high school basketball players, one black and one white, experience the justice system differently after committing a crime together and getting caught.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"This excellent novel has it all: authentic characters, a thought-provoking plot and heartbreaking drama," PW said in a starred review of this tale about an interracial friendship between two basketball stars. Ages 10-up. (Dec.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
When two high school basketball stars, one black, one white, decide to rob people for a few bucks, someone is shot but only one of the boys gets caught. Marcus, an African-American boy nicknamed "Black," refuses to tell anyone, even his family, who the other boy was, although those who know him can easily guess that it had to have been his friend, Eddie, known as "White." It is hard to fathom why Marcus would be willing to be the fall guy for Eddie, especially when Marcus neither provided the gun nor pulled the trigger. And it is hard not to be irritated with Eddie for not only abandoning his friend but also feeling happy about his basketball scholarship—which, clearly, he will not receive if he is arrested. The only saving grace is that Eddie must live in fear of the police and their finding enough evidence against him, his own moral disgrace, and his inability to face his crime and move on. Marcus and the people around him have already faced and come to terms with his role in the crime. The book does raise the issue of why a minority youth would have the defeatist feeling that the system is so stacked against him that fingering his white buddy would not make any difference. It is a sad commentary on the state of U.S. democracy in general and race relations in particular. This book could well be used to trigger enlightening discussions in high school literature and government classes. 2005, Viking, Ages 12 up.
—Kathryn Erskine
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-A taut tale of friendship, racial tension, and sacrifice. Long Island City High School basketball stars Marcus Brown and Eddie Russo, aka "Black and White," turn to robbery to get easy money for shoes and senior fees. When Eddie produces his dead grandfather's gun, the teens feel powerful and fearless until just another stickup goes wrong, and Eddie fires the weapon. The wounded victim identifies Marcus, who is arrested and who resolutely refuses to identify his gun-wielding accomplice. He is sentenced to 19 months in prison while Eddie denies his criminal involvement and claims a college basketball scholarship at St. John's. In alternating chapters, the young men reveal their shame and guilt as they slip into the archetypal pattern of the black man bearing the white man's burden. Marcus becomes the tragic, forgiving, but inspiring hero while Eddie opts for deceit and a tainted future. Confronted by his father's anger, his mother's hysteria, and the possible loss of his college prospects, Eddie is willing to abandon his African-American friend. Resigned but spiritually strong, Marcus accepts his fate while his mother deplores Eddie's cowardice. These complex characters share a mutual respect and struggle with issues of loyalty, honesty, and courage. Social conflicts, basketball fervor, and tough personal choices make this title a gripping story. Teens will anxiously follow Marcus and Eddie to the last page and then ponder the choices they made and the pervasive significance of race in American society.-Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Marcus is black and Eddie white in a multicultural Long Island neighborhood. Known to all as "Black and White," they have honed their athletic skills together and are in the midst of a basketball season headed to the playoffs and scholarships to good colleges. They know each other's timing and rhythm and feel complete trust in each other. However, off the court they have decided to supplement their income by holding up strangers for money for senior activities and the latest athletic shoes. Using Grandpa's gun from Eddie's attic, both think their initial success means invincibility. The nightmare that ensues when Eddie inadvertently hits the trigger-and their victim-becomes the playing field for the author's exploration of how much difference race can make in the fate of each boy and their friendship. Rather than exploring the issue of race by pretending it doesn't exist, Volponi points directly at it, illustrating at every turn that the race of the various characters influences events as well as whether Marcus will end up in prison alone. Consequences for everyone unfold and escalate in rapid-fire fashion. Hugely discussable. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142406922
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/2/2006
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 65,185
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.53 (w) x 8.24 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Volponi is the author of the critically acclaimed young adult novel Black & White. From 1992 to 1998, he taught adolescents on Rikers Island in New York City to read and write. Mr. Volponi worked at a day treatment center like Daytop teaching students and helping them prepare for the GED. Mr. Volponi lives in New York City.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 71 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 71 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 4, 2012

    Highly Recommended!

    After I first picked up Pail Valponi’s Black and White, and read the first chapter, I knew I had discovered the book for me. This book had captured my full attention, and I finished it in a quick period of time, mainly because I found it very difficult to set down. Black and White was an easy read, and contains a very interesting story. The main focus of the story was about friendship, which I did not realize until reaching the opposite cover. I had thought that the book would be mostly about basketball. I feel as if I have learned a lot about friendship just by reading this book, and I will use what I have learned to benefit me in life and help me with all the relationships I have with people in the future. I am very passionate about basketball, which is why I selected this book. My passion for the sport allowed me to connect to the main characters. The book is very dramatic, and also very suspenseful. These are two characteristics that I seek when I want to read a book. The acts of crime committed in the story definitely boosted the suspense in Black and White and the conflicts caused between the two main characters due to the crime added a lot to the drama factor. The fashion that Pail Volponi used to organize this story was very interesting. He alternated the chapters so that every other chapter would be from a different characters perspective, either black, or white. This allowed me to understand each character’s feeling and situation much more clearly and overall made it a much better read. This story certainly deserves four stars, for it is very good. It would receive a fifth from me if there was more basketball incorporated into the story line. Overall Black and White is a great read and I am truly glad that I had found it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2009

    My Review

    In my personal opinion, I really enjoyed reading this book. This book is an easy read that I would recommend to males or females. Black and White are two boys going through tough times, reguarding their parents, school, friends, basketball, drugs, and their own brotherly relationship. In this book, they fall out of place of who they really are, they discover the unknown and they become two seperate people. Black and White was an outstanding book to read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2013

    The book Black and White by Paul Volponi takes place in Long Isl

    The book Black and White by Paul Volponi takes place in Long Island, New York at Long Island City High School. This fiction book teaches how not to discriminate based on race.
    In the book two best friends, Marcus and Eddie are stuck in a situation. They’re both huge stars on their high school basketball team and they’re craving the new sneakers that are coming out. They can’t be the only one on the team without them. On top of that school fees are due. They find a way to get the extra money but they come across a problem in the process.
    I like that the book gives actual detail about how life is living in Long Island, New York as a teenager. It tells how mostly Blacks and Hispanics are the ones that are in prison. You will rarely find someone white. I didn’t like that the book didn’t have much detail. It had very short wording and it didn’t describe thing as well as it should have.
    The writer uses lots of diction in the book. For different characters, there would be different choices of words to use, to create the tone of the book.
    Overall, this book was a joy to read and I would recommend it to any friend. With our society today and the world that we live in, this book would suit just fine.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2013

    definitely a book that I could not put down. I may even read it

    definitely a book that I could not put down. I may even read it again. I don’t know of anyone that would not like this book. So read it. I’m sure that you will enjoy it just as much as I have

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  • Posted August 31, 2012

    Highly recommended- great book!

    I read Black and White by Paul Volponi for my summer reading book this year. This was one of my all time favorite books I have ever read. There were many things that I liked and found very interesting while reading this book. The thing that I like the most that stuck out from the rest was that each chapter the narrator changed between the main characters Marcus and Eddie. This helped me understand the book more because I had different perspectives of the story from each main character. I also like how this book was based around basketball and teamwork. I gave this book four out of five stars because overall it was an excellent book but there were some parts that were hard to understand, but after re-reading the confusing parts I understood the book a lot more. There were many parts in the book where I could not set the book down becuase my eyes were glued to the pages. Some of my favorite parts were when Marcus and Eddie were pulling the stickups because it was very suspensful. I would recommend this book to all students in highschool. I loved how I could relate the story with the two bestfriends to my life with my best friend, and I bet a lot of students in highschool could do the same. I really hope that there is a second book after this one because I would love to get my hands on it and read it. I had a fun time reading this book and so will you.

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  • Posted April 10, 2012

    There are two main characters in this book; their names are Eddy

    There are two main characters in this book; their names are Eddy and Marcus. They played basketball together and they called them black and white, which is also the name of the book. They called them this because Marcus was a black boy and Eddy was a White boy; these two boys looked past the racial barrier between them. They live in a medium size town. They were really good at Basketball because they got full scholarships to play basketball in college. They then screw up. I would recommend this book. It is a really good book.

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  • Posted February 16, 2012

    highly recommended - very intriguing book

    In my personal opinion, I thought Black and White was a very intriguing book. It kept me interested and made me eager to finish the book. It is about two teenagers, one is black and the other is white, who are very talented at playing basketball and from the looks of it is that they both will have successful careers in basketball later in life. But Marcus and Eddie decide to rob people and one of them gets himself into some deep trouble. It will end up changing his life forever. During the whole book, each chapter is written in a different perspective every time. It starts out with Marcus, the black kid, and then to Eddie, the white kid, and switches off every other chapter from there. They each talk about their personal lives and what they do when they are not around each other, which is very rare because they are usually always with each other. Marcus likes to hang out with Eddie’s sister, Rose, because he has feelings for her and so does she. Nobody knows about them two being together except Eddie. Eddie is in a relationship with a cheerleader at school and cares a lot about his sister. They both said they would have each other’s back in any situation but when a situation actually does occur, one of them turns his back on the other. True friends would stand up for each other in any situation whether it is a small fight or a robbery like what happened in this story. I feel this book shows how two best friends can become split up after a situation like this occurs. They become two separate people. The book is also a good example for younger kids and to teach them a lesson not to do anything stupid like this to mess up their lives like Black and White did.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2012


    This book dealt with friendship, the color of your skin, and how mistakes can ruin your future. This book was okay. I'd thought of it in many ways, especially in a racial way, but overal it was an okay book.

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  • Posted January 16, 2012

    wow its an amazing book !!!! :)

    Black and white
    Black and white is an awesome book that talks about two young kids who are the best of friends. Through everything it’s black and white till the end, both sharing the same passion for basketball, the boy’s works hard to get to the top. To them being popular and having it all is important and their willing to do just about anything to get what they want. But when trouble comes around its just black {Marcus} Marcus gets caught being at the wrong place at the wrong time. When pulling a robbery with Eddie accidently Eddie pulls the trigger and shoots the man they were attacking. Marcus and Eddie take off running not knowing what to do being frightened to death that they might have killed a guy. They make the choice to stay low. To forget everything that happened but when Marcus gets locked up. Eddie doesn’t take the blame for anything and just stays put. While Marcus is taking the blame for everything Eddie takes a scholarship he was offered. When Marcus gets out nothing is the same to him and he starts to think is Eddie really his friend.
    Black and white is an awesome book based on a true story.
    The kids soon find out they didn’t kill anyone. And realize that almost taking someone life over sneakers isn’t worth it at all.

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  • Posted December 9, 2011

    Love the book- READ IT <3

    Black and White
    By: Paul Volponi

    By: Branden Castro
    I loved this book. This is probably one of my favorite books. It combined drama and basketball one of my passions. While I was reading I felt like I was actually in the story. The book is about a white kid named Eddie and a black kid named Marcus. They are star basketball players of their highschool, they are kinda poor so they both decide to rob somebody. It is very sad because they are like brothers but after they get caught for the robbery, they separate. They lose their connection and their families are no longer close. This book should be a lesson for kids. Don¿t make dumb decesions that you will soon regret in your life.

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  • Posted October 13, 2011


    This is a great book, the author did a good job on making you feel like you were in the story. Also the story was really realistic and not some dull highschool story showing things that you'll never fing to happen in highschool. The author also kept the story on topic interesting and grabed you into the book every chapter.When i read it i couldn't put it down. Great book!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2011

    Louie Farina Great for Teens! Black & White by Paul Volponi Star Rating: 5

    Black & White by Paul Volponi is a story about two interracial friends that are star basketball players on their high school team. The main characters are Marcus and Eddie. Marcus is black, and Eddie is white. Both are poor teenagers trying to make money for basketball gear. The teenagers start to rob people for money, but one night Marcus makes a bad decision with a gun. The story takes place in Long Island, around 2006. This story shows how two best friends trust each other through rough times. A great story for young teens.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2010

    Extreme with Karma

    Black and White by Paul Volponi is a great book for high school students everywhere. It's very down to earth, and shows consequences and choices similar to what students may face today such as stress, breaking the law ect. Volponi does great at describing thoughs experiences by going off of what he has seen and maybe done. I really like it. I love at how he shows that if you do bad things, it will catch up to you. If kids read this book, it can show what some of the consequences are and prevent them from putting their self in a position to fail. I love at how straight forward he is, however, to me some things I could see coming.

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  • Posted October 29, 2010

    every one must read this!!

    Most books are indicated for certain types of interested people. well this book is for EVERYONE. Black and White is simply the name given to 2 young men that became the best of friends, despite the fact that they were different races. Black (Marcus) and White (Eddy) are the perfect example to show to everyone that skin color is merely a COLOR. It should not prevent us from acheiving great things with different races. This book also shows how powerful a friendship can become. No matter what the situation is, or how enourmous a conflict can get, friendship always overcomes it. But we can't forget what also held these two men together, their passion for basketball. To relieve stress and to simply have a good time, a sport can really be handy. This story is an incredible story. I love to read, and i've read a variety of books, but none can compare to BLACK AND WHITE. Its inspirational, and highly recommended to everyone that has the opportunity to read it. I guarantee you won't regret taking one or two hours to read this marvaleous book. Paul Volponi must be extremely proud to have written such a book. I thank him for publishing this book.

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  • Posted October 19, 2010

    Good Book!

    The book, Black and White was one of the best books I have read so far. It has drama and a little bit of suspense in some parts of the book. One reason I like it because it was because it was fast pace and the time goes by real fast in the book. I would recommend this book to basketball lovers and sports fans just in general because of the fast pace action during the game seen in parts of the book when they have a game against a tough team, and you hope they win the game. I would also recommend it to teens as well. Once you start reading it you won't want to put it down because once you start you want to keep reading to find out what happens next to the two best friends, Marcus and Eddie also known as Black and white in the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2010

    Really makes you think


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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2009

    Black and White Review

    Black and White is an incredible story about two young men growing up in the city. This book will show anyone who reads it a lot about how life is in the city. Paul Volponi does a tremendous job of showing both characters love for basketball and how their friendship grew apart really got me into the story. The way Volponi describes how the characters friendship grew apart and the way they handled it will grasp anyone's attention.
    While reading this book I quickly realized that this book is intense, emotional and you can really get into the story. The two main characters are Marcus and Eddie. Marcus is African American and Eddie is Caucasian. This creates a lot of racial differences during the book, but Eddie and Marcus get past that and are best friends. They are the best basketball players at their high school so everyone knows who they are and about them. In the beginning of the story Marcus and Eddie need money to pay their student dues. They made the decision to rob people until they could get enough money. One moment while they are rob a man the gun they were using fired off and shot the man. They both took off running.
    People that have read Black and White or who are reading it might have some problems with the book. Some people may have the problem with that throughout the whole book the chapters switch between Eddie's and Marcus's view of the story. I personally have never read a book where the characters tell the story like this, but I quickly learned that I really enjoyed it. Another problem is people might not like that an African American boy and a Caucasian boy are friends. I don't have a problem with this but others might. Volponi does an excellent job of stating the problem of the book, but he does not just come out and say it. There are a few problems I have with the book. In my opinion the main problem of the book is the shooting of the man. Others may disagree because racism or basketball could be the main point.
    Black and White is a thrilling heartwarming story for a reader of any age. Anyone who loves sports or just a good story about growing up and facing your problems, you should read this book. I give it 10 basketballs out of 10.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2009

    Devon R

    Book Review Draft
    The book that I read this summer was called Black and White by Paul Volponi. I really thought this book was excellent because it had a lot of potential, and I liked that. I also liked it because I like sports and this book has to do with basketball. In my opinion this book was one of the best sports novels that I have read in a long time or maybe even the best one yet. I recommend this book very greatly to young adults like myself.
    This book is about two boys Marcus and Eddie who are seniors in their high school. They both play basketball and are very good at it. They both start to get get recruited for college. They get greedy and want money so they start doing stick ups to rob people of their money. But one night they stick up this man and Eddie accidentally shoots him, so they run. Then Marcus gets looked at by the police and ends up getting questioned. That is all that happens up to now, without giving the end away.
    I thought that this book was (good) because it interested me. The reason why I think that the book is superior because it tells a fiction story that could be happening in real life, and that is why I like the topic of the book. Three moments from the book that I like most and mean the most is when the stick ups start, when the police investigate Marcus, and when the police prosecute Marcus not Eddie.
    The books plot was interesting because it was like it was happening in the real world for example stick ups do happen every day. The authors writing style is great in a way that I thought it was easy to understand and also to read I really liked how he ordered things also. There weren't that many characters in this book but the ones that were in the book were high-quality, I imagined in my head the characters and how real they sounded when they were quoted. The message of the story is that when people break the law over and over again then it will catch up to them and they will be punished.
    This book in my opinion deserves a five out of five because it was fantastic. I highly recommend teens interested in sports to read this. If I was someone who hasn't read this and I heard about the review of the book I would want to read it right away.

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  • Posted September 22, 2009

    Black and White Book Review

    Marcus Munroe
    Black and White Book Review
    By. Paul Volponi
    I really enjoyed reading the book Black and White. Paul Volponi is a pretty good author. Eddie and Marcus are the main characters of the story. They are seniors in high school, as well as the head of their basketball team and are best friends. Marcus is black and Eddie is White. At the end of the years all of the seniors go on a field trip to Hersey Park. You need money to go on the trip. Marcus and his family did not have enough money to go on the trip and the boys agreed that if one of them couldn't go on the trip then both of them couldn't go on the trip. So Eddie came up with the idea to stick up people for their money in order for Marcus to have enough money to go on the trip. Eddie was the person with the gun and Marcus was just there to see the whole thing. They started off fine until one day they accidentally shot a person in the act. During their basketball game at half time Eddie did not see Marcus in the warm-up line. He heard from one of his friends that Marcus was arrest in the locker room. This book is tells a message to the reader that is very true and important to know in life. I enjoyed this book because it is actually not boring. Not many books are like that these days. I remember one part where Eddie and Marcus were sticking up a person and Eddie accidentally shoots the person. I could not believe it. The plot of the book was nicely put together and I really enjoyed the main characters. I recommend this book to men although anybody can read it. I give this book four stars out of five stars. Order it today.

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  • Posted September 21, 2009

    Crime and Kids

    Crime and Kids

    The way Paul Volponi wrote the book Black and White was very inspirational and entertaining. I would recommend this book to everyone who likes to read because I think it grasps the attention of the reader with its way of wanting to know what is going to happen to the two kids.
    The book was about two stars of their high school basketball team who need money and decide to rob people. Then, one night when they were robbing someone Eddie accidently fired the gun and hit the man. I felt that this book made you not want to put it down because you wanted to find out what was going to happen whether it was will they get caught or if they get caught what will happen.
    I also thought that there were some parts in the story that were unnecessary. For example when the coach from the college Eddie was going to play at called him to see what going on I thought that part was not needed. During one part in the story when Marcus wasn't going to tell the other person in the crime it made me think what I would have done in that position so this book also makes you realize that you can't just waste away your life. I give this book a rating of 4 out of five stars because it had a good plot to the story and the author did good job of making it entertaining for the reader.

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