Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “New People” as Want to Read:
New People
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

New People

3.25  ·  Rating details ·  4,200 ratings  ·  603 reviews
From the bestselling author of Caucasia, a subversive and engrossing novel of race, class and manners in contemporary America.

As the twentieth century draws to a close, Maria is at the start of a life she never thought possible. She and Khalil, her college sweetheart, are planning their wedding. They are the perfect couple, "King and Queen of the Racially Nebulous Prom." T
...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published August 1st 2017 by Riverhead Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about New People, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Alyce Rocco Same question I would ask, except for the spoiler.

Because it is a weekend she probably endures more sex between Lisa & the Poet; but is able to escape…more
Same question I would ask, except for the spoiler.

Because it is a weekend she probably endures more sex between Lisa & the Poet; but is able to escape when they leave the apartment.

When Khalil returns from his trip with Ethan, he confesses that he & Ethan are in love, breaks the engagement & Maria takes a long rest in a mental health institution?(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,200 ratings  ·  603 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of New People
Roxane
Jul 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting and ambitious novel about multiracial identity. Maria is a strong protagonist--frustrating, hard to really know, intelligent, strange. The overall tone of the book is moody and wry and meditative. Interesting structure with the heavy use of flashbacks. Feels... incomplete. While Maria is fully drawn, everyone else feels a bit typecast. Definitely worth reading. Just didn't grab ME but overall it's a smart and interesting book.
Julie
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
New People by Senna Danzy is a 2017 Riverhead Books publication.

Unconventional, a little disturbing, but thought provoking and exceptionally written-


Despite its brevity, this book packs a potent punch, written in a quirky, offbeat prose, that captured my attention and forced me to stay focused.

The novel is, without a doubt, about race. ‘New People’ meaning ‘biracial'. However, there is more to the story than meets the eye.

Maria and her fiancé Khalil are both biracial- Maria’s adoptive mother
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was once a PhD student in ethnomusicology, so to find a protagonist with that shared experience was a huge surprise and definitely added a start to my reading of this novel. I loved Maria and her weird obsessions, but she did start making puzzling decisions near the end. I enjoyed the ongoing discussion of identity within biracial realities, and am intrigued/terrified of the music of Jonestown!

Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Reviews May Vary
Nope. This woman is messy and ridiculous. Bye, gurl. #DNF
Tiffany
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
I received a copy of New People as a Goodreads Giveaway. The writing itself is not bad, in fact, there are moments in the book where I genuinely enjoy her writing. The problems I have are with the story itself, the themes, and the characters. The characters are one dimensional and there is little character building. If the intention was to have a unlikable protagonist, Senna was successful. It seems to me that the author had good intentions in her dealing with various issues of race, however, I ...more
Jessica Sullivan
This book was so strange, so compelling and so uncomfortable, I could have read another 200 pages and never grown tired of it.

It's the 1990s and Maria and her fiancé Khalil are, as the documentary they're starring in puts it, "new people." Born in the late 60s to early 70s, new people are "the progeny of the Renaissance of Interracial Unions." As a light-skinned biracial woman, Maria struggles with the challenge of not fitting in with either race.

While a large part of this book is a dry social s
...more
Jennifer Blankfein
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Follow me on https://booknationbyjen.wordpress.com for all my reviews and recommendations

I really enjoyed New People and was intrigued by who the description, “new people”, referred to. Maria and Khalil are a seemingly happy, engaged couple living in Brooklyn, both light skinned, mixed race. Khalil, a technology consultant, comes from a solid, intact family unit and is close with his parents and sister who is darker skinned than he is. Maria has no relatives; she was adopted by a black woman wh
...more
Jessica Woodbury
Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
The narrative of the rudderless twenty-something in New York City takes on new life when there's a real reason for the lack of direction. In NEW PEOPLE Senna introduces us to Maria, who is working hard to create a specific identity for herself as a mixed-race woman. She's created the kind of life she thinks that woman should have and as she comes closer to obtaining all of it, things start to fall apart at the seams.

Chief among these crises are her relationships to men. Her fiance, Khalil, has
...more
Uriel Perez
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
Not exactly what I was expecting. On the surface it's a simple story of obsession interspersed with bits about the narrator's dissertation on Jonestown and a few shining moments discussing race/class differences. Like other reviewers, the ending had me quite puzzled — the book feels only half finished? I need a smarter person to tie it all together for me.
La Tonya  Jordan
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everybody
Recommended to La Tonya by: Go On Girl ! Book Club
Shelves: good-read
Maria Pierce and Khalil Mirskys are engaged to be married. But, the poet keeps floating on Maria's mind. She fantasizes and dreams of the poet. She finds his Pittsburgh Steeler cap and keeps it for six days, smelling his scents and feeling aroused, before returning his possession hoping to be invited to his apartment. In her obession for the poet, she babysits a baby under the guise of been a Latina. She enters his apartment and hides under his bed. What will she do next?

Maria and Khalil are the
...more
Mel
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
This has the disjointed feel of Jami Attenberg's All Grown Up, but stronger. (Not better.)

Heads up: the only thing I read before listening to this book on audio was the synopsis on the inside flap at the bookstore. Reading a review now I see it was meant to be in the same satirical vein of the Sellout but it went over my head.

Senna's storytelling is so subtle sometimes I thought I misheard or missed out on key details/segues. Strange timeline jumping between college and present and Maria's rese
...more
Jaclyn Crupi
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Some of the sharpest satire I've read in ages. It reminded me of other excellent racial satires such as Mislaid, Delicious Foods, Welcome to Braggsville and The Sellout. I gulped down the first third of this book only to have it slow down on me in the middle but it came home strong and I loved the weird ending. Senna takes us deep into the weird mind of her ambivalent protagonist Maria and it's a fun and frustrating place to be. I was happy there.
Lisa
Aug 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
I'm not even sure what that was? Was Maria mentally unstable? Was she looking for an excuse to bust up her engagement? Was the grass supposed to be greener? What could be a great book about race, interracial couples, and society was totally overshadowed by her weird ass single, half-white female obsession. The ending is also super random and left open. I couldn't wait for it to end.
chantel nouseforaname
Apr 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Weird. This whole book was strange in the best way. I want to know what made Maria so delusional. I’ve always heard so many things about — you know, I can’t talk kitchen talk on Goodreads. LOL

I was gonna spill long discussed concepts black folks hold about mixed people and adopted people and the way those things intersect, but that’s not a discussion for Goodreads.

I will say tho, that this book was interesting in a hilarious, somewhat absurdist sort of way. Danzy Senna’s writing style is uniqu
...more
Mandy
Jun 06, 2018 rated it did not like it
I stepped out of my normal comfort zone here (genre wise) and books like this wish I hadn’t. I couldn’t get into this book from the first chapter but my rule is if I start it I must finish.

Maria, a young girl who is engaged is our speaker and narrator of the story. She’s enthralled with a young poet even though she’s engaged to marry another. The story weaves in and out of her own life and past and the present with her new man and the poet and then her dissertation she is writing on a “cult” of
...more
rachel
I usually give three stars to books that I liked just enough. In the case of this book, I'm not happy rating it so low, especially now that I want to read everything else Danzy Senna has written. But I can't think of any other way to express my disappointment that it felt so rushed to its end. An attempt is made to resolve most of the internal conflicts Maria faces, but it's all too hasty and ambiguous to be satisfying. A novel of much longer length could have been written about these characters ...more
Renee
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
In his blurb on the back of the book, Marlon James states that “New People” reminds us that “the worst kind of hell is always the one we raise”, and I don’t think I can put it any better. This is a book about identity and obsession, perfection and truth.

Maria and her fiancé Khalil are mixed race, mulatta and mulatto, planning their wedding and ready to embark on their life together as “new people”. By their definition, new people are “the progeny of the Renaissance of Interracial Unions” in late
...more
Shirleen R
Aug 18, 2017 rated it liked it
3.75/5
Incomplete review. Draft 2 as of August 24, 2017
New People is a short, magnetic, strange, book. Strange in how Danzy Senna combines a perceptive biracial heroine Maria with opaque motives. Strange in how Senna pairs a lifeless main plot -- Maria has trepidations over whether to marry Khalil, a biracial character -- with a far more compelling side story -- the way music worked as a form of rebellion in the last days of Jim Jones' Jonestown in Guyana. Questions is why pair these two theme
...more
Matthew
Sep 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Anomaly is one of my favorite words, a term of which I use daily and usually more than once. And yet somehow I haven’t used it to describe any of the novels I’ve reviewed. But hey there’s a first time for everything.

New People is - spoiler alert - an anomaly. Perhaps not the textbook definition, but one all the same. Its summary led me to believe Danzy Senna’s novel was an “engrossing novel of race, class and manners” and while it is certainly that, it’s also more. Much more. Too much more. Whic
...more
Jessie
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
So new people by Danzy Senna was deeply odd and uncomfortable and I really liked it. It was about a young biracial phd candidate who was in the process of completing her dissertation and ambivalently preparing for her impending wedding to another biracial person in the late 90’s while both running from and seeking something I can’t quite describe. The title is based on the idea that this generation of young biracial people, born in the late sixties and early seventies were “new people” and in th ...more
Melissa Stacy
**spoilers!! please beware**

Published in August 2017, the adult literary novel, "New People," by the acclaimed author Danzy Senna, has been lauded with rave reviews and recognition, including being named by Time magazine as one of the Top Ten Novels of 2017. This novel is meant to be a darkly comedic examination of a biracial woman's frustrating search for racial identity in 1990s Brooklyn, New York.

I appreciate that this book deals with microaggressions and their impacts. I appreciate that the
...more
Ari
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 20s, read-in-2017
"People say children are resilient, Nora says, but it's not true. If kids were so resilient, why would we have a world of broken people out there? Why would we have so many people paying to talk to strangers? Childhood is a series of traumas that build up and make you forget who you really are." 27

I did stay up late to finish this book, racing through it only to be met by a frustratingly ambiguous ending. New People reads as disjointed to me, there are many different storylines and characters at
...more
Alissa
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novel
Wow. What a whirlwind. It read almost like a literary thriller, a page turning story of deception, mixed with compelling questions of identity, race, and life choices. The story is told in third person, but from the perspective of a young woman who is like the antagonist of her own story. I felt like I was watching a train wreck but couldn’t look away, my heart literally pounding at points. It was a quick, rich, thoughtful page-turner that left me wanting to read more from Senza.
BOOKED & ROOTED
Dec 13, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is ok. The main character is seriously flawed, but who isn't. One of the things that are standing out to me is her dissertation on Another America, "Jonestown". The book is making me really want to read more about it. I am in the last few pages and this is pretty much all I have to say about this one.
Jan
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A short, offbeat story of multiracial identity and coming of age in 1990's Brooklyn--goofy in parts, but also thought-provoking and touching. Think of it as a descendant of Fran Ross's satirical classic, Oreo, which Senna wrote about in the New Yorker in 2015.
Nell
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Damn, that was creepy.
Sarah
I’m in the minority of readers because I enjoyed this book immensely. It’s a beautifully crafted but oh so eerie novel.

I’d recommend the book to those who loved Zadie Smith’s ‘Swing Time.’ Like Smith, Senna is clever, witty, and skilled beyond measure in her craft. Like ‘Swing Time,’ ‘New People’ is a satirical yet insightful novel about Blackness, Black culture, and Black life as told through a cast of absurd mixed-race characters. Both novels should really be read twice. However, whereas ‘Swi
...more
Becky
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a story! More review thoughts to come.
Chynna Broxton
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
I’m not quite sure what I just read....
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • What We Lose
  • A Kind of Freedom
  • Red at the Bone
  • Heads of the Colored People
  • The Parking Lot Attendant
  • Trust Exercise: A Novel
  • Black Card
  • The Mothers
  • The Incendiaries
  • Erasure
  • Heavy: An American Memoir
  • Goodbye, Vitamin
  • Real Life
  • The Female Persuasion
  • Severance
  • The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls
  • There There
  • Such a Fun Age
See similar books…
358 followers
Danzy Senna is an American novelist, born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts in 1970. Her parents, Carl Senna, an Afro-Mexican poet and author, and Fanny Howe, who is Irish-American writer, were also civil rights activists.

She attended Stanford University and received an MFA from the University of California at Irvine. There, she received several creative writing awards.

Her debut novel, Caucasia
...more

News & Interviews

With his new horror novel, The Only Good Indians, author Stephen Graham Jones conjures one of the most effective scary images to ever hover in that...
35 likes · 4 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“When there is a gap—between your face and your race, between the baby and the mother, between your body and yourself—you are expected, everywhere you go, to explain the gap.” 7 likes
“She has decided all university campuses are alike- the sense of possibility and stasis. She thinks this too: all graduate students, if you look closely enough, exude the same aura of privilege and poverty.” 5 likes
More quotes…