cover image True True

True True

Don P. Hooper. Penguin/Paulsen, $19.99 (384p) ISBN 978-059-346210-2

Seventeen-year-old Gil, who is of Jamaican descent, is anxious about starting at a new school in Manhattan, away from his predominantly Caribbean Brooklyn neighborhood. But with a partial scholarship and Augustin Prep’s top-notch robotics program on offer, Gil can’t pass up the opportunity. Gil is also dealing with worries surrounding his grandmother’s worsening dementia and his father’s struggles with emigrating from Jamaica to the U.S. While trying to navigate the majority-white school’s social politics, Gil meets Tammy, president of the Black Culture Club and editor-in-chief of the school newspaper. As favoritism and racism run rampant at Augustin, Gil—accompanied by Tammy and a group of BIPOC classmates—resolves to take a stand. In his efforts to better his new school, however, he neglects his friends and family. In this compassionate debut, a love letter to Brooklyn and Caribbean culture, Hooper paints an organic portrait of a Black teenager who feels caught between two different worlds. Gil’s determination to lift up his peers often results in him disregarding his own needs and wants; through his earnest first-person POV and natural-feeling prose, Hooper presents valuable lessons on the healing power of community, forgiveness, and sharing one’s truth. Ages 12–up. (Aug.)