Finished reading book no. 14 for the year – The New Kid by Jerry Craft, a breezy graphic novel about surviving middle-school. The comic panels are bright and super fun.
Jordan Banks the protagonist is a kid who loves to draw & finds himself in a fancy new school with loaded students. While his mother is excited about her son going to a great school, the father’s only worry is if there would be enough diversity in his class.
I loved the subtle ways in which Jerry Craft shows how the most well-meaning people can be unwittingly racist. Reminded me slightly of “Such a Fun Age” by Kiley Reid, which was long-listed for the 2020 Booker Prize. While the two books are vastly different from each other, what they have in common is the witty ways in which the authors take digs at the “white pursuit of wokeness” (in double quotes because I read the phrase somewhere). There’s also class difference brought in, while the rich kids in Jordan’s school jet off to Alaska to go skiing, kids on ‘financial aid’ like him can only go as far as their neighborhood park.
Jerry Craft weaves a fun story, with interesting characters and for a change – there is no romantic sub-plot. New Kid is all about friends, family and finding your own voice. It is fun, relatable and unputdownable!
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