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Publisher's Summary

With his single mother in jail, Sequoyah, a 15-year-old Cherokee boy, is placed in foster care with the Troutt family. Literally and figuratively scarred by his unstable upbringing, Sequoyah has spent years mostly keeping to himself, living with his emotions pressed deep below the surface - that is, until he meets the 17-year-old Rosemary, another youth staying with the Troutts.

Sequoyah and Rosemary bond over their shared Native American backgrounds and tumultuous paths through the foster care system, but as Sequoyah's feelings toward Rosemary deepen, the precariousness of their lives and the scars of their pasts threaten to undo them both.

©2018 Brandon Hobson (P)2018 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Indigeneity fell short

The good parts of this book included the imagery and intensity of tone. However, there were some misrepresentations when coming to the Cherokee elements of this novel. I grew up in a Cherokee community (I am ᎠᏂᎩᏚᏩᎩ) in Oklahoma, near Cherokee County. One issue I had was saying that Sequoyah means “sparrow.” Tsisquaya (ji-s-qua-ya) means real bird/sparrow, according to traditional Keetoowah-Cherokee author Robert J. Conley. I grew up learning that Sequoyah means “pig foot or pig-like” because he had a limp when he walked. This leads me to another Cherokee issue I had in the first chapter when it says Sequoyah developed the Cherokee language. Sequoyah developed the syllabary/alphabet, not the language. We had language before him. Lastly, the teepee at the end made me a little sad because Cherokees never used teepees.
The forced spirituality felt uncomfortable and awkward, and seemed like it was meant for non-Natives. It felt like this novel wasn’t targeting me as its audience, even with the use of pan-Indian elements (spirit quest & dreamcatchers). It was nice to see N. Scott Momaday mentioned.
One of my worries is that it could perpetuate stereotypes of Natives being drunks/druggies. And I wonder why the author didn’t include ICWA, since it’s a big issue in Indian Country.
Looking past some of the misinformation/representation part of the novel, it’s very interesting and makes the bleak look vivid.

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Quite good

Although the book involves Native Americans in rural Oklahoma, this novel could really about anyone, bringing the ideas that everyone has their own story, some more tragic than others, and every person has their own set of problems and desires. There is no person in life who escapes unscathed. Although a little short, it's an excellent and well conceived novel and nicely presented by the reader.

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addictive book

the the author does a great job of describing the scenes so you can visualize them. he really imprints the images in your mind.