The Nickel Boys, the 2019 novel written by Colson Whitehead, is a contemporary work of historical fiction that deals with racism, rebellion, and violence. A third-person omniscient narrator tells the story of Elwood Curtis, a young Black boy living in Eleanor, Florida, during the  time of the Civil Rights Movement. Elwood is unjustly sentenced to attend the fictional Nickel Academy, which is based on a real-life Florida reform school that was ultimately investigated and shut down. The Nickel Boys was awarded the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.


Read the chapter-by-chapter Summary & Analysis, a Full Book Summary, or Full Book Analysis of The Nickel Boys.


See a complete Character List for The Nickel Boys, as well as in-depth analysis of its most important characters.

Literary Devices

Here's where you'll find analysis of the main themes, motifs, and symbols in The Nickel Boys.


Here's where you'll find important quotes from The Nickel Boys and explanations of them.


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