Brown Boy Nowhere

Amazon/Skyscape. Aug. 2021. 334p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781542027762.
Gr 9 Up–For 16-year-old Filipino American Angelo Rivera, life sucks. His parents uprooted him from his home in San Diego, moving him to a boring landlocked town. At his majority-white high school, he can count the other BIPOC students on one hand, and the football players rule. From day one, they refer to him as “Brown Boy.” Angelo finds friendship with other outcasts, namely, Kirsten, ex-cheerleader and graffiti artist, and Larry, a self-proclaimed invisible band geek. The trio, along with some other cast-offs, asks Angelo to teach them how to skateboard. They want to hold a skateboarding competition the same night as a football game, drawing attention and taking the team down a notch. Race and racism are key elements of this story, including characters claiming they “aren’t racist” when their words and actions say differently. The novel adeptly addresses themes of bullying, fitting in, and standing up to agressors. Despite the too-neat and tidy ending, the story’s message is still well presented.
VERDICT A worthy purchase for any library.

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