Very often, I avoid books that get a lot of press. Very often when I do that, I'm missing out on some awesome books. (I found this out with Hunger Games and Harry Potter. It's a good thing I got into Twilight before anyone knew about it.) Sherman Alexie's YA title has gotten some rave reviews from day one, and it's a National Book Award winner, so naturally I just got around to reading it this week (because I had to). And I have to say, for a story that took me about an hour to read all the way through (maybe I'm exaggerating), I don't know what took me so long!
Fourteen-year-old Junior wants more from life than to epitomize the stereotypical life of a Native American on the Spokane Indian Reservation. He doesn't want to grow up to be a drunk like his dad or an ex-drunk like his mom. He's one of the smartest kids in his class, and with a little encouragement, he wants to believe that he can contribute to making the world a better place... so he tells his family that he wants to enroll at a (mostly white, middle- to upper-class suburban, prejudiced) school off the rez. The story follows Junior as he attempts to make his way through daily life as an outsider at his new school, and his struggles to play his role as a member of the rez. With touching authenticity, Junior finds hope in his dreams.
Recommended for all teen and adult readers. The illustrations add the best touches of humor to a story that absolutely, truly relates to those from all walks of life.
Call number: YA ALEXIE (Teen Room)
Reviewed by kate the librarian
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