Paula Chase (@ThatMGBookChick) shares DOUGH BOYS, her latest novel and a companion to SO DONE. There are not an abundance of stories reflecting the diversity of black identity. Many stories being published today center on black pain. They take place in similar settings. They portray characters in similar ways. But there are many, many talked authors who are black and who are portraying black lives in ways communicate the complexity and diversity of blackness. Wait. Let me back that up. These diverse stories are being published. The question I want us to consider is, are we centering, purchasing, and celebrating these books? DOUGH BOYS, in my humble opinion, is a book that deserves to be read and celebrated widely. It centers on two boys, Rollie and Simp, whose friendship grows more complex as each boy’s interests pull them through life. Simp wants to be captain of the basketball team and stands a shot. He also wants to provide for his mom and four brothers, something that he’s able to do from the cash he gets from playing lookout for Coach Tez’s drug ring. Rollie loves basketball, too, but his talents as a drummer have earned him a chance to audition for an up-and-coming go-go band. We meet the boys at a crossroads, and that’s exactly where I’m going to leave you as you prepare to listen to this conversation.
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ABOUT THE BOOK:
In the companion to her acclaimed So Done, Paula Chase follows best friends Simp and Rollie as their friendship is threatened by the pressures of basketball, upcoming auditions, middle school, and their growing involvement in the local drug ring.
Dough Boys is a memorably vivid story about the complex friendship between two African American boys whose lives are heading down very different paths. For fans of Jason Reynolds’s Ghost and Rebecca Stead’s Goodbye Stranger.
Deontae “Simp” Wright has big plans for his future. Plans that involve basketball, his best friend, Rollie, and making enough money to get his mom and four younger brothers out of the Cove, their low-income housing project.
Long term, this means the NBA. Short term, it means being a dough boy—getting paid to play lookout and eventually moving up the rungs of the neighborhood drug operation with Rollie as his partner.
Roland “Rollie” Matthews used to love playing basketball. He loved the rhythm of the game, how he came up with his best drumbeats after running up and down the court. But playing with the elite team comes with extra, illegal responsibilities, and Rollie isn't sure he's down for that life. The new talented-and-gifted program, where Rollie has a chance to audition for a real-life go-go band, seems like the perfect excuse to stop being a dough boy. But how can he abandon his best friend?
Paula Chase explores universal themes of friendship and budding romance, while also exploring complex issues that affect many young teens. Full of basketball, friendship, and daily life in a housing project, this universal story is perfect for fans of Jason Reynolds’s Track series, Jewell Parker Rhodes’s Ghost Boys, and Chris Crutcher.
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