My rating: 5 of 5 stars
After years of being advised to read this book and never quite finding the time, I finally did it. I’m so glad I finally did. Junior is what many people would call “an old soul”, but probably not people on “the rez” because they’ve all had to grow up too fast. Just when you think your heart will break for Junior and his family, you are relieved with a belly-shaking laugh. Junior’s sensitivity, empathy and clearly genetic, nuanced sense of humor will make you admire him repeatedly. Junior struggles and thrives as he tries to live two lives – one on the rez and one in a white high school he chose to go to because he knew he deserved a better education than the reservation school could give him. Both supported and humiliated by his family and friends, Junior finds his way and can reconcile the duality of his life through a series of trials and triumphs. Alexie has done an amazing job of writing a young hero that is superb yet believable, and Forney’s illustrations bring Junior’s best qualities to life.