Elwood Curtis is an intelligent, hardworking man with a love for Martin Luther King Jr. As a boy, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and was sentenced to the Nickel Academy, a juvenile reformatory in Tallahassee, Florida. At first glance, the reformatory appeared fair and safe, both to Elwood and to outsiders looking in. As time went on, however, he realized that it was a corrupt, nightmarish facility where anyone going “out back” is never seen again. During his time there, Elwood's morals and ideas were tested, as he was faced with continual discrimination and punishment. Readers follow Elwood’s time in the Nickel Academy as his optimism is pitted against a daily struggle to survive.
BTSYA / Teen Reader (17):
This book should be read by as many people as possible. First, because it is a well-written book; and, more importantly, because of its subject matter. The Nickel Academy facility is based on a real place. As a white person, I cannot comprehend what it must have been like, Whitehead makes it somewhat easier to understand what it was like to be in this situation for so long.
The book switches back and forth between the 1960s and the present day. The majority of the story takes place in 1960s, but the back-and-forth does not impact the pacing or make it awkward. I would recommend this book to teenagers and older, as it can have language and content matter that is not appropriate for younger readers.
This is a Pulitzer Prize winning novel that will appeal to teens and young adults interested in history, social justice, and the legal system. It is a powerful book and it will stay with you long after you finish reading Elwood's story.
This is a book written for an adult audience. Given the setting and timeframe, violence and profanity, as well as vivid examples of racist behavior, can be expected.
This historical fiction novel, set in 1960s Florida, is about the wrongful imprisonment and friendship of two boys. It is an adult novel.
Colson Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys was inspired by the Dozier School for Boys. Because of the impact of this book, readers may want to learn more about the actual institution.
15 and Up
15 and Up
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer's Age: 17
Buy. This is a book you'll read and want to lend to every person you know.