Book Review ~ ‘New Boy’ by Tracy Chevalier.

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New Boy: Othello Retold by Tracy Chevalier
(Hogarth Shakespeare)
Genres: Adult, Historical, Retellings
Release Date: 11th May 2017.

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SYNOPSIS

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 popular girl in school. But one student can’t stand to witness this budding relationship: Ian decides to destroy the friendship between the black boy and the golden girl. By the end of the day, the school and its key players – teachers and pupils alike – will never be the same again.

The tragedy of Othello is transposed to a 1970’s suburban Washington schoolyard, where kids fall in and out of love with each other before lunchtime, and practice a casual racism picked up from their parents and teachers. Peeking over the shoulders of four 11 year olds Osei, Dee, Ian, and his reluctant girlfriend Mimi, Tracy Chevalier’s powerful drama of friends torn apart by jealousy, bullying and betrayal will leave you reeling.

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Book Review ~ ‘New Boy’ by Tracy Chevalier ~ 5 Stars!

In ‘New Boy’ Tracy Chevalier has created an incredible retelling of Shakespeare’s Othello that creeps up on you, and lingers in the mind long after you’ve turned the last page.

The never altering routine of a school playground is thrown into disarray when 11 year old Osei arrives at his new school. Why does this young boy cause such an uproar? Because this is 1970s Washington, and Osei is black. The themes of race and segregation of the time are heartbreakingly portrayed in this retelling where not only is Osei victimised for the colour of his skin, but so is the young Dee, a white girl who chooses to befriend him.

Chevalier’s decision to base this story in a school was so clever, as nowhere else in a modern setting would the trail of lies, rumours and jealousy be so rife as in a school playground where, as is truthfully stated by one of their teacher’s “kids fall in and out of love with each other before lunchtime.”

I adored this retelling of Othello, and many parallels can be found between this and the current Black Lives Matter movement in America. I strongly recommend this book, as the issues raised are made even more black and white by their being portrayed and noticed by children who can only have picked up their casual racism from the careless comments of adults.

5 Stars!


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~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon US ~

OR

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~ Waterstones ~ Barnes & Noble ~


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Tracy Chevalier

~ Goodreads ~ Twitter ~ Website ~


Blog Stop ~ ‘Othello’ by C.E. Wilson.

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‘Othello’ by C.E. Wilson
(Shakespeare for Everyone Else #2)
Release Day: December 23, 2013

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SYNOPSIS

Shakespeare’s work features some of the most memorable stories and
characters ever created, yet for too many curious readers the
combination of ultra-dense dialogue and unfamiliar historical settings
make tackling the Bard’s work something between a tedious chore and a
confusing mess of bird-bolts and quondam carpet-mongers.

While it’s nearly impossible to replicate or improve on these works,
it is (thanks to their timeless nature) possible to make them more
accessible to a wider audience.

In this Young Adult retelling of one of William Shakespeare’s most
memorable plays, join C.E. Wilson as she breathes new life into
Othello, the second book in her series Shakespeare for Everyone Else.

When Archer decides that he’s had enough of Orion and Devony running
what he thought was going to be his school he takes desperate measures
to ruin everything. Through lies and betrayal, deceit and deception,
Archer will stop at nothing to get what he wants, and he doesn’t care
whose lives he has to destroy in the process.

Can anyone stop one of William Shakespeare’s most villainous
characters in this YA retelling of the epic tragedy of Othello?

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Amazon UK ~ Amazon US ~ Smashwords ~

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“Orion, I’d like to think that we’re friends now.  We’re friends, right?”

“Of course.  You helped me out when Micah was drunk and making an absolute ass out of himself.  You’ve proven on more than one occasion that I can trust you with school events and I know you care about the school’s reputation as much as I do.  Please…tell me what you think you saw.”

“Micah’s a good guy.  I think I’m looking too much into things.”

“Tell me what you’re thinking.”

“I don’t see a reason to get you riled up this close to the tournament.”

“Why would I get riled up?”

“Because you’re stressed.  I’m worried you’ll start to see things that aren’t there.  There’s going to be a lot of pressure.  The media’s going to be here.”

“I know about the damn tournament.  What I want to know is if Micah is trustworthy.”

As he fumbled with his fingers, Archer could feel Orion’s heavy gaze.  “I don’t think you have anything to worry about.”

“You’re lying.”

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 Book Review ~ ‘Othello (Shakespeare for Everyone Else #2)’ by C.E. Wilson ~ 4 Stars!

Any author who re-writes any well known classic to make it more relatable to people today, has a huge feat ahead of them, none more so than authors who rewrite Shakespeare. C.E. Wilson took on an incredibly difficult challenge, and not only succeeded, but also wrote the story so well, that the emotions that are more difficult to experience whilst reading Othello in script form, just flew off the page and I really connected with the characters and storyline.

Being a huge Shakespeare fan, I have read all of his known plays, and Othello is one of the more difficult ones to read and understand. C.E. Wilson did a fantastic job in brining Shakespeare’s characters alive in the 21st century, and made their motives, feelings and struggles seem very much relatable to real problems that young people face today. I liked how it was set in a school, which made an excellent way for all the characters to know each other, and have jealousy issues related to school related drama.

I particularly loved how the characters were introduced to us. I really felt the connection between Orion (Othello) and Dev (Desdemona) and I could see the love that they had for each other so clearly that it broke my heart to see Orion’s descent into jealousy. The pacing of the story was also perfectly in line with the way that Shakespeare’s original work was paced. Whilst many may feel the ending is very sudden and not much closure is given, I loved how C.E. Wilson tackled this tragic ending, as it was very much in line with how Shakespeare’s plays do end very abruptly after the final dramatic scene, with less prominent characters speaking the final lines.

I gave this book 4 stars, as there were a few moments in the book where I felt the dialogue was a bit stilted, almost as though it were written for a play and not for a novel, but in the grand scheme of how well-thought out and produced this book was, this was really only a little thing.

This is one of the best Shakespeare retellings I have read, it is incredibly well-thought out and was extremely relatable to young adults, and I feel that this sort of book would have helped a lot of my class-mates when I was studying Shakespeare at school.

A clever, unique and intriguing young adult adaption of Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’.

4 Stars!

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 cewilson

C.E. Wilson

C.E. Wilson is 30 years old and currently living in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania with her husband and her two dogs and two cats. They are
all the loves of her life. When she’s not writing young adult fantasy
novels, she enjoys writing short stories to post on DeviantArt. She
loves to write stories involving giants and little people (a genre
also known as GT) and nothing helps her to write more than a strong
cup of coffee with a sweet creamer and taking time at the end of the
day to watch some classic movies with her husband.

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Writing on the side: http://cewilson5.deviantart.com/
Reading on the side: http://www.goodreads.com/CEWilson
Twitter: Cewilson1

And general shenanigans:
http://www.facebook.com/people/Ce-Wilson/100003313330557

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