When he loses his best friend to a drive-by shooting, Anthony “Ant” Jones realizes he needs to get away from his dangerous school in East Cleveland. He decides to take advantage of the offer of a scholarship to attend elite prep school Belton Academy, in Maine. There he discovers a world he doesn’t really understand, where he feels completely misunderstood and alone.
As Ant struggles to find a place in the new school, where the kids assume he’s from Brooklyn and automatically call him “Tony,” he learns a lot about himself—and how to be true to himself even as he is faced with all new surroundings and people. Ant must come to terms with the fact that he is now a part of a world that he does not fully understand, and he has to find a way to survive there. How much is he willing to adapt? His home is now a place where he does not feel he belongs, but it is, nonetheless, home.
Debut author Brian F. Walker’s background as a tough kid running the streets of East Cleveland, only to move to an elite boarding school at the age of 14, is clearly the inspiration for this highly autobiographical novel. His prose rings true and the story is engrossing. Ant is a very realistic character whom readers will love, in spite of his idiosyncrasies. Black Boy White School poses compelling questions: How far should anyone go to “fit in,” and how can that be done while remaining true to oneself?