True True

Penguin/Nancy Paulsen. Aug. 2023. 384p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780593462102.
Gr 6-9–A Black teen from Brooklyn gets into a predominantly white prep school in Manhattan and is thrust into a world of microaggressions and outright racism. But before one begins to think this is a tale as (unfortunately) old as time, readers are introduced to Gil—Hooper’s martial-arts practicing, Jamaican flag-waving, poetry and robotics team-loving protagonist who quickly assures readers that this story is anything but stale. When Gil is given a copy of The Art of War at his dojo, the book really picks up as he uses Sun Tzu’s time-honored strategies to gather a following and take on the racist underpinnings of his new school. Infused with the modern and quick language one expects from a contemporary YA novel, mixed with the energy of New York City seen through the eyes of Jamaican immigrants, Dreamers, and first-generation kids, the author takes readers on a journey as Gil figures out how a place at the school of his dreams mixes (or doesn’t) with the only life he has ever known in Brooklyn.
VERDICT A timely YA novel that takes on heavy themes of race and immigration with freshness, hope, and a dash of Jamaican patois.

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