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Fire song
2018
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Summary

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.

Trade Reviews
School Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up-Shane is a gay Anishinaabe high school student. His sister, Destiny, has just committed suicide for unknown reasons. Shane's mom holes herself up in Destiny's room in a deep depression. At her memorial service, Shane goes emotionally adrift. The only person that truly makes Shane happy is David. Everything else about his life sucks: the teen has to pretend to have a girlfriend while sneaking around with David because he doesn't think his community would accept his sexuality. Shane decides that he must leave the reservation and wants David to go with him. He even tries selling drugs to get some escape money. After his girlfriend, Tara, commits suicide, Shane withdraws further within himself and begins to wonder if his life is worth leading. This complex, well-written debut will resonate with young people. The primary and secondary characters are fully developed and the pacing will keep readers engaged. Despite the dangerous turn of events, the two boys eventually find love and acceptance. VERDICT A great coming-out novel with Native American protagonists; recommended for all teen collections.-Jill Baetiong, Kaneville Public Library, IL © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
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
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