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The Nickel Boys
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
In this bravura follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize, and National Book Award-winning #1 New York Times bestseller The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida. As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is "as good as anyone." Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South of the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, whose mission statement says it provides "physical, intellectual and moral training" so the delinquent boys in their charge can become "honorable and honest men." In reality, the Nickel Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors where the sadistic staff beats and sexually abuses the students, corrupt officials and locals steal food and supplies, and any boy who resists is likely to disappear "out back." Stunned to find himself in such a vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold onto Dr. King's ringing assertion "Throw us in jail and we will still love you." His friend Turner thinks Elwood is worse than naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble. The tension between Elwood's ideals and Turner's skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades. Formed in the crucible of the evils Jim Crow wrought, the boys' fates will be determined by what they endured at the Nickel Academy. Based on the real story of a reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative that showcases a great American novelist writing at the height of his powers.
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wen4blu
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Next audiobook. Love the subtle incentive (hurry up, people are waiting!) from the library.

ljuliel I wish they wouldn‘t have started putting that reminder note on your online checkouts. It bothers me so much that I feel like I have to hurry up and get done with the book since others are waiting. 1d
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AnneCecilie
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

It just breaks my heart knowing that Whitehead was inspired by real events. I can‘t believe people will treat other people and especially kids this way. A must read.

I‘m going to hear Whitehead talk about the book later this month

MommyWantsToReadHerBook I want to read this but it also sounds harrowing! 3d
AnneCecilie @MommyWantsToReadHerBook There are some difficult scenes in the book, but at the same time this happened with more kids than one likes to think about. Sometimes difficult books need to be read, and you can always take the time you need to read a book 3d
48 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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Suet624
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

(Across the street from my house/those trees are bright red, though they appear to be orange in this photo!) Whitehead does a great job with this story, one that is horrific in detail. It brought to mind stories circulating about a Catholic orphanage in my neck of the woods. It‘s important that these events are placed in front of the public, but it‘s getting harder to take in the information. I really need to know there is good in the world.

LauraBeth Wow Sue - that is gorgeous! 😍 3d
CrowCAH Sooo pretty 🍁 3d
Suet624 @LauraBeth @crowcah we are having a spectacular leaf season here. No heavy rains or high winds to knock the leaves off the trees so all the colors are lingering. 3d
See All 7 Comments
BarbaraBB It‘s absolutely gorgeous. I so want to visit your indian summer one day 🍁🍁 3d
JennyM Beautiful 🍁 3d
ValerieAndBooks It is gorgeous 🍂🍁🍂. And I know what you mean about wanting a balance between being aware of what needs to be changed and looking at what‘s happening that‘s good. 2d
Suet624 @ValerieAndBooks it‘s just relentless isn‘t it? 2d
51 likes7 comments
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cdreincarnate
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

I liked this book more than Whitehead‘s last one, although the subject is just as dark. It‘s a quick read and the audiobook narrator does a great job, so I highly recommend listening to this one.

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AnneCecilie
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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#WeekendReads

1. Tagged

2. 5 books and 2 movies, but 3 books and both movies will be returned today

3. I never even knew reading slumps existed before joining Litsy. But in periods when I don‘t read as much as I use to, I tend be binge series until I start reading again.

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AnneCecilie
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Next up.

I‘ve seen a lot of love for this in here.

JennyM I thought it was very well done. A tough read but one that needs to be heard. Hope you love it too 5d
charl08 Still to read this one! 4d
AnneCecilie @JennyM this is a book that has made an impact on me. (edited) 3d
JennyM @AnneCecilie it‘s a powerful book! 💔 3d
50 likes1 stack add4 comments
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Dolly
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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What a huge number!! ✨💫 Congratulations!💫✨How can anyone choose 1 book? I‘d be thrilled at ANY on my TBR used or not. Thanks for the giveaway.

#200KGiveaway. @Librarybelle

Librarybelle Thank you! It is so hard to choose just one book! 4d
31 likes1 comment
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rachelm
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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SIGNED FIRST EDITION of this book I‘ve been dying to read at my LIBRARY BOOK SALE! I paid them a few dollars more than the $1 they asked! 😂

Sace That's crazy! Someone's loss is your gain! Almost makes me wonder if someone is out there mourning because it was accidentally given away! 5d
rachelm @Sace I will give it a good adopted home at least!! 5d
Sace It's definitely found a better home. 5d
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LauraJ Nice! 5d
readordierachel Wow, score! 5d
Redwritinghood Nice find! 5d
JulietBooks I loved Nickel Boys!!! 👍 4d
54 likes7 comments
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rachelm
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Littens, I woke up with a specific Hamilton song as an earworm, and it got me thinking about what is on my hold list. What book on your library waitlist “are you willing to wait for it?”

Tag me and show me your waitlist loves. #waitforit
#hamilton #musicals

Hestapleton I waited months for this audio! Totally worth it. 1w
MatchlessMarie That song is an entire existential crisis 😅 1w
rachelm @Hestapleton I‘m such a wimp! Is it terrifying? 1w
rachelm @MatchlessMarie it makes me melt 1w
Hestapleton @rachelm scary but I found myself more just deeply sad than anything. It seemed like more of a story about the horror of grief. 1w
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peaknit
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Current read. Wish it was lunchtime now.

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booklovingly
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

Reading this book was a journey😰 Whitehead talks about racial injustice through Elwood‘s time in a juvenile center called Nickel Academy.
The storyline is straight up unpredictable, Whitehead was very skilled in ensuring that as a reader you experience things through Elwood‘s eyes. The writing is heartfelt and very descriptive and it can be triggering. I finished reading a few hours ago and I‘m still sitting in some things.

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CallieBrowning
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

This was an incredible book. My 3rd five star read for the year.

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nomadreader
Nickel Boys | Colson Whitehead
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I'm the first one up, so I'm starting this one from the #NationalBookAward longlist

JulietBooks OMGOSH... that was such a great book! 2w
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perfectlywinged
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Already loving this story set in the Civil Rights Era better than Underground Railroad. The characters are so vivid.

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mklong
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Oh this is great. A departure from Whitehead‘s usual style in that he leaves out his familiar elements of speculative fiction and just tells the story straight. There is no looking away here, it‘s only the cold reality of the Nickel Academy and the society in which it exists. Even so, Whitehead knows when to stop; when the stomach turning violence has had its effect and will only be met with numbness or incredulity if it is pushed further.

Redheadrambles I am so looking forward to this one 2w
erzascarletbookgasm Great review 👍 2w
mklong @Redheadrambles I‘m really looking forward to the discussion. So far, looks like it will include lots of gushing. 2w
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CaitlinR
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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This beautiful story alternatively broke my heart and made me furious. Elwood and Turner have such wisdom and courage They find through each other “... the deeper music in the speeches and hand-painted signs of protest “

There is a place in the deepest circle of hell for the staff of the novel‘s Nickel Academy and for the staff Dozier School for Boys whose real-life horrors led Colson Whitehead to this powerful novel.

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JackieSmith
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

I finished this last weekend & I‘m still thinking about it. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟/5

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BlueStockingReviews
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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THE NICKEL BOYS is a fabulously written book about a difficult truth. The read is wrenching, but it‘s also enlightening and moving. The writing is straight forward with thought-provoking prose. The story is captivating, but the reality is simply infuriating. This is a book you may not really want to read...but read it anyway! You‘ll be glad you did. https://www.bluestockingreviews.com/post/the-nickel-boys

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TheNextBook
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Started this tonight and so far I‘m enjoying it. I enjoyed The Underground Railroad by Whitehead and this has a similar feel and tone.

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Rachel.Rencher
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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I had to stay home sick today. 🤒 I've been resisting taking a day off work for over a week because I didn't want to get a sub, but I feel like I've gotten the flu for the first time. Blehhhh.

So, I'll be in bed all day trying to read and sleep it off. 😴

LiteraryinLititz Oh no!! Hang in there and I hope it‘s behind you soon. 3w
cobwebmoth Hope you feel better soon! 3w
DaveGreen7777 Oh, no! Hope you feel much better soon! 🤕 3w
See All 10 Comments
Jas16 Hope you feel better soon 3w
Elizabeth2 Take care and feel better soon! 3w
AmyG Feel better. At least you have a great book to read. 3w
Branwen Hope you feel better soon, friend! 💕 3w
Buechersuechtling Take care and feel better soon‼️ 3w
youneverarrived Feel better soon! 3w
Cortg Feel better soon and enjoy some quiet reading time!
3w
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Emilymdxn
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

I loved the Underground Railroad but I think I preferred this one. It felt more cohesive, and I adored all of the characters and how well researched it was. It balanced historical accuracy with feeling like a human story rather than a history book SO well. It‘s rare to read a book that brings the past to life so well.

Tamra Having just finished Underground, now I‘m even more anxious Nickel Boys! 3w
Jeannineth Did you read Before We Were Yours? Was this book gut wrenching like that? 3w
sarahbarnes Wow, I loved Underground Railroad, so now I‘m really looking forward to reading this one! 3w
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Abby2
Nickel Boys | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

Loved it even more than Underground Railroad. Well researched history that needed to be told. The writing is conversational but so clearly descriptive.

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JacqMac
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

Wow! This was a really great read. The Underground Railroad, was a meh for me. But I read this in one day. Just because it was too hard to stop. I highly recommend it. It‘s a quick read, but not an easy one.

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JacqMac
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Saturday reading. I really have to take a break and put on some not pajamas. But it‘s hard to put down.

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks I want this one!! 4w
Samplergal So good. Hard to read when you know it‘s based on facts. 😢 4w
JacqMac @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks It‘s so good! Horrifying, but a good read. 4w
JacqMac @Samplergal I find myself having to take little breaks from the horror. 4w
Centique I have the “not pyjamas” issue at this moment. I‘m resisting getting changed so far! 4w
66 likes2 stack adds5 comments
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Rachel.Rencher
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Lucas has a minor surgery today, so I'm waiting to drive his goofy butt home. 🤪 I brought The Nickel Boys to read in the meantime. I have a feeling it'll live up to all the good reviews.

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rather_be_reading
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Still in awe

Come-read-with-me @rather_be_reading An astounding experience. So glad I got to share it with you! 1mo
rather_be_reading @Come-read-with-me omg me too. Cant wait to also maybe see Lori Gottileb & Miriam Toews 4w
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rather_be_reading
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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rather_be_reading
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Colson was hilarious, a great storyteller and I learned sooo much!!

emmaturi I am going to see him in October! 1mo
rather_be_reading @emmaturi he was so so amazing! 4w
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rather_be_reading
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Colson Whitehead!

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JSW
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Outstanding. I have no words.

cathysaid I‘ve seen interviews with some of the men that survived the school on which this book is based. Just gut wrenching. And they‘re still digging up graves. 😞 1mo
JSW @cathysaid it‘s devastating. I will never get over the lives and promise of greatness that have been lost over the years through individual and institutional acts of colonialism, patriarchy, white supremacy, and humanity‘s desperate need to feel superior. (edited) 1mo
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rather_be_reading
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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See ya later Colson!! @Come-read-with-me

Come-read-with-me Rather_be_reading! I can hardly wait!! 1mo
69 likes1 comment
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rsteve388
Nickel Boys | Colson Whitehead
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Should I listen to this book or read it?

I am planning to listen to Parable of the Sower First.

Please let me know what you think!

TheSpineView I love to listen and read along. It that crazy or what?!? 1mo
11 likes1 comment
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DrexEdit
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

Just finished this amazing book. This is the perfect follow-up to The Underground Railroad, bringing all the same racial issues into a 20th century setting. Just as serious and heart wrenching and horrifying. Beautifully written.

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ephemeralwaltz
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

My first read by Colson Whitehead. I was so drawn to the subject matter that I couldn't resist buying this one when it came out. Whitehead takes an infuriating piece of American history and fictionalizes it with respect, sensibility, and justice.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

thebluestocking Nice review. 💙 1mo
Tanisha_A Great review. 💜 1mo
60 likes3 comments
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teainthelibrary
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

I honestly can‘t believe I‘ve never picked up anything by Colson Whitehead before this; amazing writing! This book was tough to get through - it was brutal and tragic. The ending made me cry like a baby. But the story is such an important and necessary one.. I think Whitehead did it justice.

JennyM I just finished this, too. Heartbreaking but beautifully written. Great review x 1mo
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MEGR
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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“No, he liked the punch-drunk ones, half walking at mile twenty-three, tongues flapping like Labradors. Tumbling across the finish line by hook or crook, feet pounded to bloody meat in their Nikes. The laggards and the limpers who weren‘t running the course but deep into their character- down into the cave to return to the light with what they found.”

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JSW
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Four sentences to convey complete horror.

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MEGR
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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“The crackle of truth.”

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MEGR
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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“If it is true for you, it is true for someone else, and you are no longer alone.”

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JSW
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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The author is coming to town next week so I want to have this done by then. I hear amazing things!

Branwen Omg it's SO GOOD! 😍💕📚 1mo
tpixie Awesomeness! Have fun! 1mo
Leftcoastzen A great book! 1mo
See All 6 Comments
readordierachel Cool! It's really good. 1mo
rather_be_reading did u see him tonight?? 1mo
JSW @rather_be_reading I see him Thursday! 1mo
37 likes6 comments
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Bookboss
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

Excellent story told over decades about a reform school in Florida and the racism of the South. The characters are well-drawn and the plot is structured in a way to heighten suspense. I loved Elwood and his struggle for justice in the face of racial injustice. The narrator of the audio version does a fabulous job differentiating the characters and infusing emotion into the narrative.

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DavidDiamond
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

Based on a real reformatory where children were subjected to abject cruelty and abuse, Whitehead weaves another brilliant tale with a clever plot twist towards the end. A book that really causes you to reflect once that last page is turned.

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Pam.Kokomo
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

💔

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Nitpickyabouttrains
Nickel Boys | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

I feel like this book is going to be on a lot of best of lists this year. A part of history I had not known about - reformatory schools for kids in the south.

Cinfhen Own it but need to read it!!! 1mo
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8little_paws
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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A few September reading ideas. The right 2 books are library and the left 2 are owned backlist. I've also got Wild Game coming from #botm and my book club choice for September is Sing Unburied Sing, which I did read already but long enough ago I need a refresher. And I plan on finishing the Frederick Douglass bio.

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EmMcKee
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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"He talked like a college white boy, read books when he didn't have to, and mined them for uranium to power his own personal A-bomb. Still--sturdy."

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EmMcKee
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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"A figment from tenth-grade science struck him: a Perpetual Misery Machine, one that operated by itself without human agency. Also, Archimedes, one of his first encyclopedia finds. Violence is the only lever big enough to move the world."

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Kerrioke
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Well, this book just destroyed me. I have so many emotions and none of them are good, but that‘s just because Colson Whitehead makes you feel the helplessness that those boys must have felt. Ugh, this book was incredible, but devastating. I‘m going to be thinking about this one for a long time.

Jenken1998 Very good! 2mo
rather_be_reading yesss 💔 2mo
Leftcoastzen Well said. 1mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks I really want to read this!! 1mo
20 likes4 comments
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EmMcKee
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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"Reassembling those fragments into confirmation of a shared darkness: If it is true for you, it is true for someone else, and you are no longer alone."

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