cover image Maizon at Blue Hill

Maizon at Blue Hill

Jacqueline Woodson. Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $14 (131pp) ISBN 978-0-385-30796-3

Maizon, 12, wins a scholarship to Blue Hill, an exclusive, girls-only academy in Connecticut. She reluctantly leaves her Brooklyn home for unfamiliar surroundings, apprehensive about being one of only five African American students at the school. She soon meets three older African American enrollees, who boast of their affluent backgrounds and isolate her from the other girls--including Pauli, the offspring of a mixed marriage, whom they detest for ``assimilating.'' Maizon resents such manipulation, and the trio consequently shuns her. Erecting a shield against further hurt, the girl becomes achingly lonely. Maizon senses she's an oddity at the essentially all-white Blue Hill and in her frank and engaging narrative admits to resisting the place, where racial insults are often seen in innocuous remarks--yet in fact only the three African American girls indulge in obviously bigoted comments. This simply told, finely crafted sequel to Last Summer with Maizon neatly avoids predictability while offering a perspective on racism and elitism rarely found in fiction for this age group. Ages 10-14. (Oct.)