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New Boy

(Hogarth Shakespeare project)

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  7,418 ratings  ·  1,463 reviews
From the New York Times bestselling author of Girl with a Pearl Earring comes the fifth installment in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, a modern retelling of Othello set in a suburban schoolyard

Arriving at his fifth school in as many years, a diplomat's son, Osei Kokote, knows he needs an ally if he is to survive his first day so he's lucky to hit it off with Dee, the most
Hardcover, 188 pages
Published May 11th 2017 by Hogarth (first published May 2017)
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Kate The Gap of Time
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Average rating 3.50  · 
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Mar 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the modern reimagining in the Hogarth Shakespeare series of the dark psychological play, Othello. It is transferred to the 1970s and set amongst 6th graders and teachers in a elementary school in a suburb of Washington DC. It works surprisingly well and the action takes place over the period of a day. The heavy and raw emotions of an incendiary jealousy bent on destruction, rage, envy, insecurity and resentment fits well into the school playground where the smallest of incidents gets blo ...more
Always Pouting
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Osei Kokote is a diplomats son who has changed school multiple times and has recently moved again. As the new boy in school in a Washington suburb in the 1970s, and the only black student, he is unsure of his place at the beginning of the story. Many of the students are unsure of how to behave around him except Dee who is immediately drawn to him. Dee is one of the most popular girls in school and all the other kids take note of the budding relationship between Dee and Osei. Osei further cements ...more
Felice Laverne
Tracy Chevalier’s New Boy is a bravely re-imagined work of Hogarth Shakespearean fiction. Reset in the 1970s on an elementary school playground, Othello’s racial tensions and treachery are re-imagined here in a unique new format.

When Osei arrives at his fourth school in as many cities, he is squarely familiar with not only the sensation of being the "new boy" but of being the only black boy as well. A product of an educated, diplomatic Ghanaian family, he is bright and sharply intelligent. He k
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
New Boy is a very tightly wound, compact retelling of Othello, that retains the original's exploration of love and betrayal, racism, strength and weakness, but transforms the situation to an elementary school and setting the conflict between adolescents, which heightens the tension and pathos for the reader. Tracy Chevalier does a fine job turning the classic, passionate tragedy into a character drama in which the children's thoughts and deeds are a reflection of the some of the worst or most in ...more
Diane S ☔
May 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Chevalier takes on Othello in this latest entry from the Hogarth Shakespeare series. The third I have read and am enjoying the different takes the authors are writing to modernize these classics.

She sets Othello in a grade school in Washington DC, and the story takes place all in a day. The students are now in sixth grade, have known each other for years, statuses clearly defined, top of the heap before moving onto Middle schhol and starting at the bottom. White and privileged and inot this gr
Roman Clodia
Mar 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
The Hogarth Shakespeare series has brought us a mixed bunch of novelisations to date, some excellent (My Name is Shylock, Hag-Seed), some so-so (Vinegar Girl), and this which just didn't work for me at all. Chevalier transfers Othello to an American elementary school in 1970s Washington and makes all the characters 11-year-olds - yep, 11.

In some ways this sticks quite closely to the play in terms of the plot and characters details: O is Othello, Dee is Desdemona, the racist teacher Mr Brabant i
Imogen Kathleen
3.5 rounded up.
As a retelling of Othello in a primary (do they say elementary in the US?) school setting, this book does what it says on the tin. It made me more emotional than expected, but required an excessive suspension of disbelief.
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
*Received an ARC from Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for a fair review*

Tracy Chevalier hit the right notes in this retelling of Othello. New Boy is a perfect depiction of how a day or two in the life of a child can feel like an eternity. This story was beautifully told, and it reinvigorated some of that painful nostalgia inside me that I had forgotten about. Chevalier remembers exactly what it was like to be a child trying to navigate the playground.

New Boy is a story about an elementar
Tasha Mahoney
I will be honest here and say that while I knew the rough story of Othello, I have never read it or seen it so I chose to read this book from the synopsis rather than the Shakespearean connection.

The story is set in Washington in the 70’s the focus of the book is a Ghanaian diplomat’s son called Osei. It’s his first day at a new school and the story takes place on that one day. The main focus is on a group of students. Osei, Dee, Mimi, Blanca, Casper and Ian. There is also focus on the hideous t
May 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
My third in this series of Shakespearean rewrites but sadly I did not enjoy it as much as either Hag-Seed or Vinegar Girl.
New Boy is based on Othello and many of the similarities were obvious, but I thought the author's idea of placing the action in a 1970's elementary school in the USA was problematic, at least for me! I really feel that eleven year old children in 1970 were not so street smart or so sexualised. I am sure they may have ostracised the single non white child in the school, but th
Dannii Elle
This is a powerful and poignant retelling of Shakespeare's Othello. I read the original and its modern predecessor back-to-back and, in my humble opinion, thought Chevalier did justice to this timeless story from the renowned bard.

It was a bold and interesting option to transmute the original from an epic tragedy to the experiences of a handful of children, during just one school day on a playground. This truncated time period and microcosm community is used as a stage for the wider, modern poli
Mar 15, 2017 rated it liked it
I did not read all of the Shakespeare plays as a kid and certainly won't start doing so now, especially Othello which sounds like a real bummer. Well, it IS a tragedy. Tracy Chevalier was charged with retelling the plot, and she sets it in the 1970's; but it could just as well be today. I read a quick summary of Othello just to see what happens, who lives and who dies. Geez, there's a lot of dying going on there. I was afraid of where Chevalier was going to lead us, as her story is populated wit ...more
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017-books
The latest installment in the Hogarth Shakespeare series takes us to a 1970s suburban Washington D.C. middle school, with Tracy Chevalier's take on "Othello."

Osei Kokote, a Guyanian diplomat's son, is not only the new boy at school -- he's the only black student. Since he has spent his life moving around the world he is significantly more cosmopolitan and cultured than his classmates; however, he's not a show-off. He knows it's best to lay low and be friendly, but not overbearing. The popular gi
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘New Boy’ is the latest in the Hogarth Shakespeare retold series – this time it is Tracy Chevalier’s turn (not an author I am familiar with) and here she is superimposing the story of Othello onto 1970’s America (Washington). But not just that, the new location is the school playground and the main protagonists Osei, Dee and Ian (for Othello, Desdemona and Iago) are all 11 years old.

Whilst I was initially very skeptical about how such a relocation and re-imagining could possibly work – relocated
(3.75) My second favorite in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, after Hag-Seed. Chevalier is known for historical fiction, but here she gives Othello a near-contemporary situation and a backdrop much closer to home: her native Washington, D.C. Spring 1974: it’s Ghanaian diplomat’s son Osei Kokote’s first day at a new school. Fortunately, he’s taken under the wing of one of the most popular sixth grade girls, Dee, and they’re soon inseparable. The novel takes place all in one day, divided into discr ...more
Jun 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
To preface, it’s been more than 25 years since I studied Othello in high school and, let’s just say, chances are good that I wasn’t paying close attention (at that time I was usually too busy with my nose in the latest Stephen King release to bother with school reading). Having said that, I do recall the general story and themes from Shakespeare’s Othello, and New Boy is a take on that classic play.

This wasn’t a bad read, it just wasn’t very riveting and it required me to suspend a little more
♥ Sandi ❣
4 stars ~~ The fifth installment in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, a modern retelling of Othello

The tragedy of bullying. This story takes place over the span of one day. From the start of the school day to shortly after the last bell rings.
Osei was changing schools - again. His diplomatic father was transferred every few months and this was Osei first day at another new school. Osei was respectful, well traveled and very intelligent for his age. Osei was in 6th grade. Dee was given the duty of
N.N. Light
Worst book I've ever read and I'm a fan of Tracy Chevalier. Thank you to Hogarth and Netgalley for giving me a complimentary ARC in the hopes I'd review it.

My Rating: 1 star
First some background information. New Boy is a retelling of Shakespeare's play Othello. It is set in Washington D.C. around the 70's.

Now onto the good stuff: my review!

New Boy was a really good book (I feel like I keep saying that in my reviews today?). I loved all of the characters, except for the douchebag name Ian. I feel like there has to be someone I don't like in most books, well Ian is that character. Sorry, not sorry.

Besides Ian, there's Osei, Dee, and Casper. Osei is the MC of the boo
Jun 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"NEW BOY" is the third book in the Shakespeare retold series from the bestselling author of Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Last Runaway, Tracy Chevalier. I appreciate the effort that has been made in order to modernise the Shakespearean tragedy, Othello, capturing a new audience of readers in the process.

NEW BOY is set in an elementary school playground in Washington DC in 1974 and the whole story takes place in a single day. At the time, the political landscape was looking pretty bleak, as a
Joanne Harris
Evocative retelling of Othello as a Seventies schoolyard drama - and yes, it works marvellously. The emotions of emerging adolescence are a potent chemistry, with friendships, rivalries, budding sexuality, the desire to fit in and the search for identity combined into a powerful brew. The racism of teachers and of some pupils is dealt with directly and unflinchingly, and Shakespeare's characters, their interactions and motivations fit surprisingly well into the small, brutal world of childhood. ...more
What is Othello about? Love, jealousy, betrayal, revenge, repentance. This retelling of Shakespeare’s tragedy is intense. The action is condensed into one day on the school grounds. Osei is the new boy—introduced to this grade six class shortly before school ends for the summer. Son of a Ghanaian diplomat, O is used to being the new kid and to being the only black child in the schools he goes to.

Ian is every bit as calculating and cold as any Iago. He is sociopathic in this rendition—shaking dow
Claude's Bookzone
CW: (view spoiler)

Well that didn't really work.

Firstly, I have no idea why Tracy chose to set her Othello retelling in middle school. 11 year olds being conniving over a pencil case doesn't quite stand up to the manipulation and mistrust that is so well done in the original play. Seco
Ron Charles
May 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels-about-art
There’s no risk of Tracy Chevalier’s “New Boy” overshadowing Shakespeare’s “Othello.” But that’s neither here nor there. What Chevalier has done is recast the play to illuminate the peculiar trials of our era. If it’s not a classic novel, it’s at least a fascinating exercise.

“New Boy” takes place in an elementary school in a Washington suburb. At first, that setting might sound infantile for the adult machinations of Shakespeare’s play, but give it a moment, and the anachronisms of this mash-up
Roger Brunyate
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
Othello in Grade School

Osei ("just call me O") is a new boy at his Washington DC school. The son of a Ghanaian diplomat, this is his fourth school in as many years. Somewhat incredibly—although this does seem to be set around 1970—he is the only black kid in the school. Handsome, athletic, and smart, he is an object of immediate interest, especially to popular, blond-haired Dee, who is assigned to help him through his first day. Soon O and Dee ("what a coincidence we are both letters") have pair
May 26, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Take off your kid gloves, Diane. He doesn't need special treatment just because he's bl– a new boy.

As the latest title in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, New Boy is author Tracy Chevalier's take on updating one of the Bard's plays – in this case Othello – and the more of the books I read in this series, the more I wonder if the concept can really be done well: Even when Shakespeare, writing four centuries ago, borrowed from the ancient tales, he didn't try to set them in the London of his da
Lucy Banks
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

An unusual reinterpretation of Othello, which for the most part worked well.

I'd already read (and enjoyed) Margaret Atwood's retelling of The Tempest in Hagseed, so was very much looking forward to Tracy Chevalier's attempt on another classic Shakespeare play.

As we all know, Othello is an exploration of jealousy and deception, and also of race. As such, it was an interesting decision to place the action in a primary
This was a very readable interpretation of Shakespeare's Othello.

Set in a 70s Washington DC primary school, this is the story of a new boy, Osei Kokote, who's the only black boy in an all-white suburban school. Dee is the girl who's assigned to show the new boy around. She quickly befriends him.

The racism is prevalent, even the teachers are patronising while having good intentions.

The school playground politics are at the core of this story. The usual suspects are present: the bully, the good k
Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
Aug 10, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2017
The only positive thing I can say in defence of this book is that perhaps it suffered unfairly in my mind from two (for me) obvious comparisons with far superior books:

- the previous book in the Hogarth Modern Shakespeare Series, the outstanding Hag-Seed
- the last Shakespeare adaption I read - the vibrant We That Are Young

But ultimately this was, for me, an ill conceived and poorly executed transposition of the Shakespeare plot into one day in the life of a junior school; a book which is presuma
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is Othello turned into a single day in the life of a class of sixth graders. I think any retelling of Shakespeare needs to work on its own as a story and this book just didn't work for me on any level. This was certainly an event-packed day for these 11 year olds, full of scheming, jealousy, racism, violence, jump rope, kick ball and pre-teen sexuality. It was both unbelievable and boring. At least it was short.

I received a free copy of the e-book from the publisher however I wound up list
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19 October 1962 in Washington, DC. Youngest of 3 children. Father was a photographer for The Washington Post.

Nerdy. Spent a lot of time lying on my bed reading. Favorite authors back then: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madeleine L’Engle, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Joan Aiken, Susan Cooper, Lloyd Alexander. Book I would have taken to a desert island: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.


Other books in the series

Hogarth Shakespeare project (7 books)
  • The Gap of Time
  • Shylock Is My Name
  • Vinegar Girl
  • Hag-Seed
  • Macbeth (Hogarth Shakespeare)
  • Dunbar

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