How can Shane reconcile his feelings for David with his desire for a better life? Shane is still reeling from the suicide of his kid sister, Destiny. How could he have missed the fact that she was so sad? He tries to share his grief with his girlfriend, Tara, but she's too concerned with her own needs to offer him much comfort. What he really wants is to be able to turn to the one person on the rez whom he loves--his friend, David. Things go from bad to worse as Shane's dream of going to university is shattered and his grieving mother withdraws from the world. Worst of all, he and David have to hide their relationship from everyone. Shane feels that his only chance of a better life is moving to Toronto, but David refuses to join him. When yet another tragedy strikes, the two boys have to make difficult choices about their future together.With deep insight into the life of Indigenous people on the reserve, this book masterfully portrays how a community looks to the past for guidance and comfort while fearing a future of poverty and shame. Shane's rocky road to finding himself takes many twists and turns, but ultimately ends with him on a path that doesn't always offer easy answers, but one that leaves the reader optimistic about his fate.
"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.
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."