*** The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

The Nickel Boys stars an African-American high schooler who seems just about perfect: smart, hard working, kind. But after accepting a ride to college in a stolen car, he is sent to a hellish reform “school” where boys, and especially African-American boys are half-starved, beaten, and abused, sometimes to death. Basing the story on an all-too-real institution, the author recreates the inexorable grinding down of a promising young man (and his cohort) at the hand of sadistic, corrupt administrators.

The book reminded me of Solitary, which tells contemporary, but just as horrifying story of racist prison abuse, with the difference that the inmates in Solitary are grown men.

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