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Children's LiteratureNate Whitely has been given the opportunity to attend the prestigious Fletcher prep school on scholarship because of his intelligence and self-motivation. One of the few African-Americans at the school, Nate makes a comfortable place for himself at the school and with classmates of all ethnic backgrounds. But he has not forgotten where he came from, and when he returns to visit his Harlem home, he reverts back into "Harlem-acceptable" language and clothing. Nate's ability to move back and forth between worlds is something he tends to take for granted until he meets Willa, the daughter of wealthy African-American parents; Willa expects Nate to stick to his prep school behaviors and when she meets his friend Hustle, jumps to her own conclusions about "who" Nate really is. The tension is compounded when Nate finds out that his older brother Eli has gotten involved in a number of illegal activities. How Nate responds to both family and friends within these situations is the real strength and interest of this book. This is an excellent book about identity, intermingling of cultures, and loyalty to friends and family. 2004, Frances Foster Books/Farrar Straus Giroux, Ages 13 to 18.
—Jean Boreen, Ph.D.