Apple in the middle

Dawn Quigley

Book - 2018

"Apple Starkington turned her back on her Native American heritage the moment she was called a racial slur for someone of white and Indian descent, not that she really even knew how to be an Indian in the first place. Too bad the white world doesn't accept her either. And so begins her quirky habits to gain acceptance. Apple's name, chosen by her Indian mother on her deathbed, has a double meaning: treasured apple of my eye, but also the negative connotation a person who is red, or Indian, on the outside, but white on the inside. After her wealthy father gives her the boot one summer, Apple reluctantly agrees to visit her Native American relatives on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in northern North Dakota for the firs...t time. Apple learns to deal with the culture shock of Indian customs and the Native Michif language, while she tries to find a connection to her dead mother. She also has to deal with a vengeful Indian man who loved her mother in high school but now hates Apple because her mom married a white man. Bouncing in the middle of two cultures, Apple meets her Indian relatives, shatters Indian stereotypes, and learns what it means to find her place in a world divided by color." --

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Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 6 Up-This coming-of-age debut tackles what it means to belong. Apple is quirky, blurts things out to classmates, pretends to be a foreign exchange student, and feels responsible for her mother's death. She is Native, living with her nonindigenous family. Her dad and stepmom decide to send her to Turtle Mountain Chippewa Reservation to stay with her grandparents, strangers to her, over the summer. Apple's cousin Junior becomes her protector, and her cousin Nezzie, her first best friend. Apple is threatened by Karl, a man who knew her mother growing up and does not think she is "Indian" enough. The prologue sets readers up for a scene in which Karl's son chases her into an open grave, where she finally realizes that her mother has been with her all along. An accident at the end of the book challenges the protagonist to figure out her own misgivings and how she can bridge both worlds. Quigley shares the dynamics of reservation life-phrases, puckered lips to point, and extended families with aunties and cousins-with authenticity and warmth. The author drops nuggets of Native history and challenges readers to learn more. VERDICT A strong story with themes that resonate with many adolescents as they try to figure out who they are in life. Highly recommended.-Amy Zembroski, Indian Community School, Franklin, WI © 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.