The time is 1985. Benji, the son of a lawyer and a doctor, is one of the only black kids at an elite prep school in Manhattan. He spends his falls and winters going to roller-disco bar mitzvahs and trying desperately to find a social group that will accept him.
But every summer, Benji and his brother, Reggie, escape to the East End of Sag Harbor, where a small community of African American professionals has built a world of its own. Except Benji is just as confused about this all-black refuge as he is about the white world he negotiates during the school year. He's hopelessly one step behind on every new dance, and his fantasies of hooking up are no match for his own awkwardness, not to mention his braces, his horrid father-cut Afro, or his secret Lite FM addiction.
In this deeply affectionate and fiercely funny coming-of-age novel, Colson Whitehead—using the perpetual mortification of teenage existence and the desperate quest for reinvention—beautifully explores racial and class identity, illustrating the complex rhythms of the adult world.