In this powerful and fast-paced YA contemporary debut, a Black teen from Brooklyn struggles to fit in at his almost entirely-white Manhattan prep school, resulting in a fight and a plan for vengeance.
This is not how seventeen-year-old Gil imagined beginning his senior year—on the subway dressed in a tie and khakis headed towards Manhattan instead of his old public school in Brooklyn. Augustin Prep may only be a borough away, but the exclusive private school feels like it's a different world entirely compared to Gil's predominately Caribbean neighborhood in Brooklyn.
If it weren't for the partial scholarship, the school's robotic program and the chance for a better future, Gil wouldn't have even considered going. Then after a racist run-in with the school's golden boy on the first day ends in a fight that leaves only Gil suspended, Gil understands the truth about his new school—Augustin may pay lip service to diversity, but that isn’t the same as truly accepting him and the other Black students as equal. But Gil intends to leave his mark on Augustin anyway.
If the school isn't going to carve out a space for him, he will carve it out for himself. Using Sun Tzu’s The Art of War as his guide, Gil wages his own clandestine war against the racist administration, parents and students, and works with the other Black students to ensure their voices are finally heard. But the more enmeshed Gil becomes in school politics, the more difficult it becomes to balance not only his life at home with his friends and family, but a possible new romance with a girl he’d move mountains for. In the end, his war could cost him everything he wants the most.