A 1980s Native American coming-of-age story grapples with the day-to-day details of teenagers’ lives on and off the reservation.
Wannabe musician Carson Mastick is approaching his senior year of high school, vacillating about whether to stay at home on the Tuscarora Reservation in upstate New York or pursue his dream of using his band as a way to get out. Fifteen-year-old Magpie Bokoni is dealing with the opposite situation: Her mother, who sells traditional souvenirs to tourists, decides to uproot the family from the city and move them back to the reservation. Magpie joins Carson’s band as a way of settling back into rez life, and her love for the Beatles, John Lennon, and Yoko Ono is infused throughout the story. While Magpie’s sister, Marie, is secretly dating an older guy she calls “Mystery Man,” Magpie is dating her co-worker at the garage, a 30-year-old white man (although her conscience wrestles with the illegal relationship). As they gear up for the Battle of the Bands competition, Carson leads the group in an impromptu protest of a Gen. Custer–themed restaurant located just off the reservation, run by a racist man who shot and injured Carson’s brother. As Carson’s and Magpie’s lives—narrated in alternating chapters—intersect, their stories will capture a wide audience.
A classic teen novel, especially for Native youth and Beatles fans. (Fiction. 14-adult)