This is one of my favorite young adult books ever. I wish I could give it six stars. It's so sad and so hilarious and so dark and so hopeful. The author doesn't shy away from anything. The illustrations and characters and plot are wonderful.
This novel tells the story of Junior, a Spokane Indian teenager, who leaves the reservation to attend an all-white school in a small town. Life at a white high school is hard, but it's not as hard as dealing with the violence, poverty, and alcoholism on the reservation.
I don't know how to review this book because I love it too much. The book is fascinating because the average American doesn't know much about life on an Indian reservation. I knew a little about reservation life because I've read a few other books about reservations, but none of them were as in-depth as this one. None of the Native Americans who I know in real life live on reservations. This book is eye-opening. It's interesting to see how other people live.
If I had to find something to criticize, there are a few things that are mentioned and then dropped. There is a character with an eating disorder. The disorder is mentioned once and then nothing happens with it. I wondered why it was mentioned at all. Junior's brain damage didn't have much effect on the story. It mostly made me wonder if a kid with Junior's health problems would be allowed to play high school basketball. What if he got hit in the head during a game and started having seizures again? Could the school get in trouble for that?
Those issues are so minor that I feel bad for bringing them up. The point of this review is to tell you to go read this book. Right now.