Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 53,000
Fifteen-year-old Reece never thought for a second that his social worker’s plan to get him into Wickersley Academy would come to anything. The slick, shiny brochure from the boarding school didn’t scream, “Wanted: Biracial foster kid. Extra points for having a mom in jail and abusive grandparents.” But an academic scholarship sends him into the clean corridors of the prestigious institution and way out of his comfort zone.
The pampered white kids aren’t exactly the kind of people he’s used to hanging out with. He doubts they’re going to give him the time of day, but his social worker insists he give them a chance. Between shooting hoops with his housemates and awkwardly romancing the girl from Sophomore English, Reece begins to feel he’s found a home.
After he witnesses a white town official shoot one of his black classmates, Reece learns that the perpetrator may walk free of all charges. He stages a protest demanding justice, but the taste for revenge is strong. If his inner rage wins out, it could mean the loss of the future he’s started to build and of the man he’s becoming.
The bag I carried was almost as empty as my expectations for the coming year. As I searched the hall for my new room, a kid in a Wickersley Academy uniform glanced my way. I recognized his facial expression. Living in white society for fifteen years had taught me what suspicion looked like. Hopefully he wasn’t my new roommate.
To my right, a lady in a grey dress with black, knee-high boots was saying, “…and be on time to class. Oh, and remember to take your vitamin each night.” The boy she spoke to looked like he’d heard this speech one too many times. He leaned against the wall, twirling his key chain over and over.
In the other direction, a man wearing a sport coat and jeans stood with a boy who looked a lot like him. The father gently slapped him on the back and said, “Let’s get something to eat before your house meeting.”
My father and I had never shared a meal together and my mother sure as hell never gave me anything, least of all advice on how to stay out of trouble. It was weird being a part of these family scenes. I wanted to be someplace else.
“Found it, Reece. Your new home.” Holly pointed at the number seven on a door.
I fumbled for the key in my pocket. The little metal piece felt odd in my hands. I’d never owned a key before. I slid it into the lock and turned the handle.