Award-winning author, poet and filmmaker, Sherman Alexie, has written a fantastic and funny coming-of-age novel for teens in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Junior is a nerdy, poor Spokane Indian teen living on "the Rez" with his mother, father, sister and grandmother. His family is close-knit and loving, even though his father is a drunk, his mother an ex-drunk and his sister hibernates in the basement. Junior is beaten up pretty regularly by other tough kids on the rez. Since it's safer to stay home, Junior retreats inside drawing and escaping into his cartoons. When he does go outside, he's protected from near-death by his one friend, Rowdy. Rowdy, at 14, is strong, mean, angry and rough. Encouraged one day by his old, white math teacher from the Indian Reservation School, Junior makes the decision to attend the wealthy Reardan High School 22 miles away. Despite his Dad telling him he's a warrior, Junior is scared to face the racist scrutiny and indifference of the white kids at this new school. But his wit and basketball skills persist and Junior finds camaraderie with Gordy the Bookworm and high school princess, Pamela; and he learns that, "if you let people into your life a little bit, they can be pretty...amazing."Sherman Alexie has written an honest, blatant story in the voice of today's teenager. This is a fast-paced, intimate look at the fears and triumphs of a young boy. It's a knock-out story!
Recommended by Valerie Owens