Friday, October 15, 2010

B.W.B. (Boarding While Brown)

After I mentioned in a random bookish meme, that I wanted to see more YA/MG about poc in boarding schools with some humor, I received some recommendations via Twitter and I did some research of my own. So I've decided for the next five weeks, I will ask for recommendations of books that fit the criteria listed in that meme. This week is poc at boarding school YA/MG that are not completely unhappy and about being the "only" (fill in blank).

So please Please PLEASE help me make this list longer. The list was so tiny as is that I decided to just include all YA/MG about a poc at a boarding school. One day I will be able to differentiate the categories into 'humorous' and 'why so serious?'

1. The Fall of Rome by Martha Southgate (not YA but I think I've heard that it has crossover appeal?)

2. Maizon at Blue Hill by Jacqueline Woodson (MG/YA. Very good)

3. New Boy by Julian Houston (YA. Have yet to review, need to re-read but I remember really liking it)

4. The Poison Apples by Lily Archer (YA. I THINK one of the girls is Asian. and I think it might actually be funny)

5. Samurai Shortstop by Alan Gratz (YA. Funny)

6. Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey (YA. I think it's supposed to be humorous and I'm not sure if the main character is a poc but let me know if it needs to be taken off the list). ETA: See comments. Staying on list because boarding school is the backdrop and the cast is diverse.

7. Hidden Talents by David Lubar (YA. I actually own this book. I've read it. and yet I only remember that it was funny and that the guys were "delinquents")

8. The School For Dangerous Girls by Eliot Schrefer (YA. I think it's a plot spoiler if I say who is a poc so just take my word for it?)

9. The Tequila Worm by Viola Canales (YA. I believe half of it is set at boarding school and the other half at home)

10. Sweetgrass Basket by Marlene Carvell (MG/YA)

11. Black Mirror by Nancy Werlin (YA)

12. It's All About Us series by Shelley Adina (YA)

And I just threw this one in because I want to read it...

Black Ice by Lorene Carey (Memoir of her teenage years at boarding school)

Not bad huh? But I bet I could name more than 10 about white teens in boarding school. So help me out, leave recommendations! I will add on to this list as recommendations come in.


  1. What I find interesting is that I wish there were fewer books about boarding schools period. So few students in the U.S. actually attend boarding schools that they seems absurdly overrepresented in teen literature.

    I'll take more books about POC who attend public/private school any day.

  2. Shelley Adina's It's All About Us series features a diverse group of young women at a ritzy boarding school in the San Francisco area. Each book features a different girl. There's an African-American, an Asian, a Hispanic, a Brit, and one or two Caucasian girls.

  3. Hi! The main character in Guardian of the Dead is not PoC - however, her best friend and her roommate are. Neither of them are shown as unhappy about being "the only", but since Ellie isn't PoC, it probably doesn't belong on the list?

    The book isn't really *about* boarding school. Although of course as a setting it has an impact on the characters, it's not really a boarding school book.

  4. I suppose an author's response will trump all. Though just in case I vote to keep Guardian of the Dead on the list.

    It features a diverse cast and its one of my favorite YA books of 2010.

    Author Christina Garcia has a YA novel coming out in 2011 called Dreams of Significant Girls, its set at a Swiss Boarding school

  5. I also wanted to chime in with a vote for Guardian of the Dead. Like Doret, it's one of my favorite books of 2010, because along with the diverse cast there's some excellent feminism throughout the book.

  6. @Keri-But I would like you to be tired of boarding school books about poc and white teens ;) I don't know any stats about how many teens attend boarding school but I understand the appeal and right now I'd rather work on as-close-to-equal representation in all aspects of teen lit.

    But I'm even more fond of books about poc set in private (rare) and public schools.

    @Patricia W-Thank you! *adds to list* I think I recall seeing those in Borders...

    @Ms. Healey-Perhaps I should have specified, books even count if they have boarding school as a background. And a diverse group of characters. So the diverse cast of friends and the effect of the setting will leave it on the list. Thank you for dropping by!

    @Doret-see above comment but it will stay on the list. For now I'll stick to already published books but I'm eagerly anticipating Dreams of Signifcant Girls!

    @Angela-Guardian of the Dead is safe (and a book I NEED to get my hands on). Diverse cast, feminism, mythology=excellence in the making =D

  7. I remember feeling that Black Ice was fantastic--I read it my second or third year at St Paul's, and the difference between the school I knew and the school she knew were huge in some places and not so huge in others.

  8. I'm brown and I went to boarding school, so yes it does happen. There were only two brown girls of in the whole school, but I still had a wonderful experience.

  9. @Anon-Glad to hear that! I'm going to try and read Black Ice over one of my holiday breaks, I love memoirs.

    It's always awesome when you notice some differences and similarties between your experience and someone else's.

    @Jeannine-Love your profile pic! If you don't mind my asking, did you go to boarding school away from home or in the state?

    I'm really happy that you had a great experience! There's something very appealing about boarding school but it is really rigorous.

  10. I would like to add the following book to the list “The Secret of the Scarlet Stone” by T.L. Clarke. It’s a MG/YA book that has three POC characters (and one is actually the leading character) and is based in a boarding school.


I love to hear from you!! Thank you for sharing :) And don't be Anon, I try to always reply back and I like to know who I'm replying to ;)