Gil is a senior in high school when he transfers to a private prep school for their robotics program. As a young black man of Jamaican descent, he struggles with stress that most kids his age will never experience. Since his father’s deportation, he must help his mother and grandmother, keep up with his martial arts training, mentor younger students and maintain both old and new friendships while dealing with racism in the world of the privileged white.
This YA book is well written and will speak to high school aged readers of all races and backgrounds. The subtleties of everyday white privilege and discrimination are well addressed and the unusual pressures that Gil deals with are eye-opening. I appreciated that the author didn’t make the ending overly “happy ever after” but there was some resolution. I did feel like the blame that Gil endured from pretty much everyone in his life was somewhat exaggerated although I think the author’s goal was to demonstrate his unusual stress.