In this novel, eighth-grader Ethan Oppenheimer moves in with his grandparents, who are the last remaining Jewish couple in their Washington, D.C., neighborhood. As the only Caucasian student in school, Ethan faces a number of challenges, including new friendships, remedial oboe lessons, and a romantic encounter in the Martin Luther King, Jr., library. Ultimately, these experiences help him come to terms with his parents' impending divorce and with the crisis that led to his leaving home.
The setting for this book was inspired by a D.C. junior high school where I taught in 2000-2001, but the characters and events are imaginary. I imagined what would happen if one white student appeared in an all-black-and-Latino school, then set about imagining how that student ended up there, and how the experience might change him.
"focuses on themes of race and class without sounding preachy”
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