The year is 1985. Benji Cooper is one of the only black students at an elite prep school in Manhattan. After a tragic mishap on his first day of high school -- when Benji reveals his deep enthusiasm for the horror movie magazine Fangoria -- his social doom is sealed for the next four years.
But every summer, Benji escapes to the Hamptons, to Sag Harbor, where a small community of African American professionals have built a world of their own. Because their parents come out only on weekends, he and his friends are left to their own devices for three glorious months. And although he's just as confused about this all-black refuge as he is about the white world he negotiates the rest of the year, he thinks that maybe this summer things will be different. If all goes according to plan, that is.
In this deeply affectionate and fiercely funny coming-of-age novel, Whitehead -- using the perpetual mortification of teenage existence and the desperate quest for reinvention -- lithely probes the elusive nature of identity, both personal and communal.