Review by Booklist Review
Shane's sister committed suicide, his mother isn't leaving the house or going back to work, and his hopes of leaving for university are quickly disappearing. Tara, Shane's self-obsessed girlfriend, certainly isn't helping matters, although she is right about one thing: Shane isn't being a very good boyfriend. David and Shane are secretly seeing each other (or, at least, they were), leaving Shane torn between his love for David and his desire to escape to Toronto for school. Based on his movie of the same name, Jones' debut novel is a tragic but hopeful exploration of queer Indigenous life in a less than accepting community. Perhaps the only downside is a number of instances of body shaming that occur early in the novel, which, while realistic among a group of teenagers, is not entirely needed for the narrative. In the end, though, Shane's story reveals the precariousness of being queer in an Indigenous community that is tied to the past, while struggling in a world shaped by colonialism.--Bittner, Rob Copyright 2018 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
"No one tells you how much you can hurt and still look normal on the outside," says Shane, an 18-year-old Anishinaabe living in Canada. The rundown reservation that he calls home is at once comforting, isolating, and stifling. Shane's younger sister Destiny's recent suicide has prompted him to navigate his own jagged emotions. As his mother falls apart emotionally, the bright spots in Shane's life become his secret boyfriend, David, and the thought of escaping to Toronto for college. But David doesn't want to leave the reservation, and Shane's lack of funds leads him to deal drugs. Jones's striking and remarkable novel, adapted from his feature film of the same name, is tensely narrated and includes some chapters featuring Shane's public girlfriend Tara's diary entries and poetry. Tara doesn't know that Shane is gay and loves him, which adds another layer of sadness and complication to the lyrical story. Jones's intensely personal account about letting go to move forward is replete with immersive imagery of nature and bathed in darkness. Ages 14-18. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up-Shane is a gay Anishinaabe high school student. His sister, Destiny, has just committed suicide for unknown reasons. Shane's mom holes herself up in Destiny's room in a deep depression. At her memorial service, Shane goes emotionally adrift. The only person that truly makes Shane happy is David. Everything else about his life sucks: the teen has to pretend to have a girlfriend while sneaking around with David because he doesn't think his community would accept his sexuality. Shane decides that he must leave the reservation and wants David to go with him. He even tries selling drugs to get some escape money. After his girlfriend, Tara, commits suicide, Shane withdraws further within himself and begins to wonder if his life is worth leading. This complex, well-written debut will resonate with young people. The primary and secondary characters are fully developed and the pacing will keep readers engaged. Despite the dangerous turn of events, the two boys eventually find love and acceptance. VERDICT A great coming-out novel with Native American protagonists; recommended for all teen collections.-Jill Baetiong, Kaneville Public Library, IL © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
After the sudden death of his sister, Shane, an Anishinaabe teen, is left to carry the weight of grief for his family.His mother is inconsolable. His girlfriend has become clingy. And his secret love, David, keeps him at a distance, as the pair hasn't quite found a way to co-exist within a reservation community where there are no openly gay couples. Shane is dealt another crushing blow after his sister's memorial when he discovers that the funding for his college tuition deposit hasn't been approved by the band. College in Toronto is the one escape that Shane believes will offer him a semblance of a future that might not be forever lost within the cyclical trauma that exists in his communityeven though his family sees his leaving the rez to go to college as a betrayal. From the first page, Cree/Mtis filmmaker Jones (adapting his award-winning film of the same name) uses a poetic voice to interlace the landscape and the main character as one symbiotic being. Complex, vulnerable emotion is embedded within the specificity of the writing in this dramatic prose debut. Jones avoids clichs of reservation life, humanizing the stories of how his people reconcile the trauma of suicide, missing family members, same-sex relationships, and the isolation of a community left to fend for itself. A touching story that has been a long time coming for the Indigenous community. (Fiction. 14-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.