What do you do when you’re American Indian, so nobody in your class talks to you, dirt poor like snow-blowing-through-the-roof poor, small for your age so bullies like Evan Reiniger make you their punching bag, and a Beatles fan, meaning your favorite band broke up years ago?
Well, you make friends like George Haddonfield, a new kid in town, tell lies because what George doesn’t know about your house won’t hurt him. Tell truths, 'cause someone’s going to listen to you about Evan, right? And make your own music since in the end your friends and family are all you have.
Notable Children’s Recordings List 2015 (ALSC)
Horn Book Summer Reading List, 2014
Best Fiction for Young Adults List, Young Adult Library Services Association, 2014.
International Reading Association’s Notable Books for a Global Society, 2014.
Notable Trade Books for Young People List, National Council for the Social Studies and the Children’s Book Council, 2014.
Honor Book, American Indian Youth Literary Awards, American Indian Library Association, 2014.
Junior Library Guild Selection, 2013.
Random House Audio/Listening Library
Booklist: *Starred Review* Lewis Blake is bright and scrawny and the only kid from the Tuscarora Reservation tracked with the brainiacs at their county junior high in upstate New York. For the duration of sixth grade, he was invisible, but when burly, polite George Haddonfield arrives on the Air Force base and shows up in their seventh-grade class, Lewis might have found a friend. The boys bond over girls and music (the Beatles, Paul McCartney and Wings, and Queen—it is the 1970s, after all), slowly letting their guards down, but when a vicious, well-connected bully sets his sights on Lewis, their friendship is sorely tested. Gansworth, himself an enrolled member of the Onondaga Nation, explores the boys’ organic relationship with generosity and tenderness and unflinching clarity, sidestepping stereotypes to offer two genuine characters navigating the unlikely intersection of two fully realized worlds. All of the supporting characters, especially the adults—from Lewis’ beleaguered mother and iconoclastic uncle to George’s upright father and delicate German mother, and a host of teachers and administrators who look right past the daily violence perpetrated on Lewis—are carefully, beautifully drawn. And although Gansworth manages the weighty themes of racism and poverty with nuance and finesse, at its heart, this is a rare and freehearted portrait of true friendship. Grades 7-10. --Thom Barthelmess