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The Nickel Boys

The Nickel Boys

This follow-up to The Underground Railroad brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys unjustly sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida. 

• “One of the most gifted novelists in America today.” —NPR 

When Elwood Curtis, a black boy growing up in 1960s Tallahassee, is unfairly sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, he finds himself trapped in a grotesque chamber of horrors. Elwood’s only salvation is his friendship with fellow “delinquent” Turner, which deepens despite Turner’s conviction that Elwood is hopelessly naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble.

As life at the Academy becomes ever more perilous, the tension between Elwood’s ideals and Turner’s skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades. 

Based on the real story of a reform school that operated for 111 years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead is a devastating, driven narrative that showcases a great American novelist writing at the height of his powers and “should further cement Whitehead as one of his generation’s best” (Entertainment Weekly).

Book Details

Publisher: Doubleday
Publish Date: July 16, 2019
ISBN: 9780385537070
Language: English

About the Author

Colson Whitehead is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Underground Railroad, which in 2016 won the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction and the National Book Award and was named one of the Ten Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review, as well as The Noble Hustle, Zone One, Sag Harbor, The Intuitionist, John Henry Days, Apex Hides the Hurt, and The Colossus of New York. He is also a Pulitzer Prize finalist and a recipient of the MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships. He lives in New York City.

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