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Ascender, Volume 3: The Digital Mage by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen Audubon Cat by Mary Calhoun and Susan Bonners
The Canyon's Edge by Dusti Bowling
Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas
A Curious Incident by Vicki Delany
Delicious in Dungeon, Volume 7 by Ryoko Kui
Delivery to the Lost City by P.G. Bell Hatch by Kenneth Oppel and Sophie Amoss (Narrator)
The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick
Made You Look by Diane Roberts
Moriarty the Patriot, Volume 1 by Ryƍsuke Takeuchi and Hikaru Miyoshi
Muffin But Murder by Victoria Hamilton
Muted by Tami Charles
The Mystery of the Haunted Cottage by Derek Landy
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
The 117-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton
One Poison Pie by Lynn Cahoon
Santa's Husband by Daniel Kibblesmith and A.P. Quach
The Scarecrow of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Speculative Los Angeles edited by Denise Hamilton
Spells and Scones by Bailey Cates and Amy Rubinate (Narrator)
Sprinkle with Murder by Jenn McKinlay
Stuck on Murder by Lucy Lawrence
Sunny Rolls the Dice by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby
This Spell Can't Last by Isabel Sterling
We Could Be Heroes by Mike Chen
White Nights by Ann Cleeves

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The Nickel Boys: 02/08/20

The Nickel Boys

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead is historical fiction inspired by a real institution in Florida where boys were sent after they were arrested. Recently an unmarked graveyard was found where boys who had "run away" had actually be buried when the extreme punishments went to far.

The book opens in Frenchtown, a Tallahassee neighborhood. Elwood Curtis is a good kid with a promising future. He's worked most of his childhood and saved money. He's gotten good grades. He's gotten into college. He makes the mistake of hitchhiking to college and ends up being arrested. Being a black boy he's sent to Nickel Academy.

Elwood's story is told in a detached, near monotone and there's a reason for that. While the novel was inspired by a real place, how it unfolds is structurally similar to A Separate Peace by John Knowles (1959). Both novels play on the reader's expectations.

What's different here is the thematic focus. Rather than being about privileged boys experiencing bullying and tragedy while avoiding WWII, it's about imprisoned boys being abused while the adults charged with their care benefit.

Five stars

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