WHERE I BELONG by Tara White


Age Range: 10 - 14
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A Mohawk girl adopted into a white family gets in touch with her heritage against the backdrop of the 1990 Oka crisis in Quebec.

Carrie has always felt different. The “only black-haired, dark-skinned girl” in her small Ontario town, she even feels out of step with her parents. Both doctors, they expect her to study hard, avoid boys and excel in science. She also has strange, vivid dreams; these are becoming more frequent and violent, featuring a teenage boy with a long, black braid. When she sees that boy at a youth-hockey tournament, she feels an instant connection. In short order, she learns that her biological father is a Mohawk who lives with his mother and her twin sister on the Kahnawake reserve, where Indians are protesting the building of a golf course on a burial ground. When she goes there to spend a week with her newfound family, she becomes caught up in the protests. A Mohawk herself, White’s story suffers from its brevity. Carrie’s adoptive parents are two-dimensional caricatures, and Carrie’s acceptance of her new identity is achieved with a speedy placidity that readers will find hard to believe. Still, her sister’s resistance to Carrie is believable, giving the narrative a badly needed edge as Mohawk-army tensions escalate. Frustratingly, although the story ends with the resolution of the crisis, readers never learn what actually happened.

Though stories of contemporary Indian youth are badly needed, this one fails to engage. (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 15th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-896580-77-7
Page count: 112pp
Publisher: Tradewind Books
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2015


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