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Black Boy White School
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Black Boy White School

4.3 6
by Brian F. Walker

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He couldn’t listen to music or talk on the phone without her jumping all over him about what they listened to up in Maine, or how they talked up in Maine, or how he better not go up to Maine and start acting ghetto.


Anthony’s mother didn’t even know where it was until he’d shown it to her on a map, but that still didn’t


He couldn’t listen to music or talk on the phone without her jumping all over him about what they listened to up in Maine, or how they talked up in Maine, or how he better not go up to Maine and start acting ghetto.


Anthony’s mother didn’t even know where it was until he’d shown it to her on a map, but that still didn’t stop her from acting like she was born there.

Anthony “Ant” Jones has never been outside his rough East Cleveland neighborhood when he’s given a scholarship to Belton Academy, an elite prep school in Maine.But at Belton things are far from perfect. Everyone calls him “Tony,” assumes he’s from Brooklyn, expects him to play basketball, and yet acts shocked when he fights back.

As Anthony tries to adapt to a world that will never fully accept him, he’s in for a rude awakening: Home is becoming a place where he no longer belongs.

In debut author Brian F. Walker’s hard-hitting novel about staying true to yourself, Anthony might find a way to survive at Belton, but what will it cost him?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Walker’s powerful debut never shies from violence (often stark), as it follows 14-year-old Anthony, aka “Ant,” from his poor East Cleveland neighborhood to preppy Belton Academy in Maine, exploring issues of racial identity and class. Although the standard “overcoming adversity” tropes appear, they pale compared to Walker’s forceful narrative voice and fast-paced storytelling. After his friend Mookie is killed, Ant resolves to take advantage of the scholarship offer he’s received and go to Belton. Ant soon discovers plenty of bigotry (including the occasional well-meaning assumption that he’ll be on the basketball team), but he also learns to balance his identity within the school with his roots in Cleveland. Had Walker left the novel there, it would still be a solid story, but his exploration of the effect of race and class on identity carries the story far. If there are a few moments of rote cliché (a teacher actually tells Ant, “You helped me grow up, too”), the writing and characters easily compensate for the occasional stumble. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jodie Rhodes Literary Agency. (Jan.)
VOYA - Dianna Geers
In Anthony's world, kids run the streets, witness or participate in drug deals, and learn to survive the rules of the neighborhood. When his best friend is shot and killed, Anthony wants nothing more than to escape life in his neighborhood, and getting accepted into a private boarding school in Boston becomes that escape. Leaving his friends and the life he knows is not really what Anthony wants, yet he feels there has to be something better. Learning the social rules of the school is more difficult than Anthony imagines, however, and even though he wanted to be away from home, he misses it terribly. Anthony must follow new rules in order to survive in his new home, and he struggles with the difference between conformity to social norms and loyalty to himself. The settings and characters in Black Boy White School are authentic, dialog is genuine, and feelings are real. The complexity of a character's loyalty to family and the world he has always known are portrayed in a realistic manner. The author successfully captures the often-confusing reality of change; when people leave their comfort zones and grow, things are never the same, and those changes can be bittersweet. Although this book is fiction, the author lived a similar experience, helping him create a rich story. Middle and high school readers who want real stories will appreciate this honest and thought-provoking book. Reviewer: Dianna Geers
Kirkus Reviews
Life at a Maine boarding school is vastly different from an inner-city neighborhood in East Cleveland, Ohio, and requires a corresponding set of survival skills for a young black male. Anthony "Ant" Jones is anxiously awaiting word whether he will leave his East Cleveland neighborhood to begin his freshman year at a boarding school in Maine. His mother has decided that he must go if he is to have a better future, and when his best friend is killed, Anthony looks forward to a different experience. Life at Belton Academy reinforces his concerns about a nearly all-white environment, though, and challenges many of the ideas he carried. Some of the racism is almost casual, and school administrators seem clueless. However, his roommate, Brody, is not what he expected, and some black students have adopted coping strategies that puzzle Anthony. A complicating factor is the presence of Somali refugees in the small town surrounding the school, triggering racist responses directed at all people of color. Anthony is a complex, likable character who convincingly grows in the course of the novel. He gradually understands what will be required if he is to succeed in his new school. "So I put on a mask that was so perfectly polished that it only reflected who you all wanted to see." His sense of belonging to neither his old community nor the world represented by Belton Academy is palpable, as is his frustration at those who refuse his attempts to define himself. Strong, realistic language and well-drawn secondary characters contribute to this authentic narrative. (Fiction. 14 & up)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Anthony "Ant" Jones, 14, has never known any life outside of his crime-ridden East Cleveland neighborhood. That is, until the day he learns that he's been accepted to the prestigious Belton Academy in Maine. There he finds himself in the midst of unfamiliar territory—a heavily upper-class, Caucasian population. As he struggles to fit in, he begins to feel as if he's losing his identity. The students call him Tony instead of Ant and expect him to play on the basketball team. At home, the neighborhood violence escalates and his best friend is killed. Ant is at first an angry character, and rightly so. His problem lies in being true to who he thinks he is and who he thinks he should be. To make matters worse, there are some deep-seated prejudices in the Belton community. Clichéd moments mingle with raw realism. Where some scenes can feel forced, others feel heartfelt and genuine. The fast pace and style of writing will appeal to a variety of readers, even reluctant ones, making this a debut novel worth noticing.—Kimberly Castle-Alberts, Stark County District Library, Canton, OH

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)
HL650L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Brian F. Walker grew up in East Cleveland, where he ran with gangsters, drug dealers, and thugs until age fourteen, when he was sent to an elite boarding school and a world he had no way of understanding. For the past seventeen years he has taught high school English, coached basketball, and served as an admissions officer at a prep school in Weston, Massachusetts. He recently won a grant for fiction writing from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, in addition to numerous awards for playwriting, short stories, and journalism. Brian lives in Massachusetts with his wife and daughter.

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Black Boy White School 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hte dis book fom yo boy al gore
chimpanzee More than 1 year ago
I thought the book would be good but I stopped reading it because it had strong language for no reason.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awsome ness
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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