This well-loved (but sometimes criticized) young-adult novel tells the funny, heartbreaking story of Arnold “Junior” Spirit, a kid growing up on an American Indian reservation who decides to attend an all-white high school off the reservation in hopes of getting a better education and a better life. In the process of doing so Arnold loses his best friends, makes new friends, confronts prejudice from both whites and fellow Indians, and explores what his native identity means to him — for better and for worse. It’s an insightful book about a teenager grappling with deep topics in a totally believable way, enlivened by the cartoons and doodles Arnold draws throughout the story.
This book has been frequently challenged and banned — mainly, as near as I can figure out, because it contains a couple of references to masturbation (what, do teenage boys DO that???!! I’m shocked!!!) and some swear words, but I found it to be an excellent read that I’d recommend to any young person — and to adult readers as well.