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*Trigger Warning: This book deals with suicides on a Native Reserve in Canada.Though the story itself is fictional, this is a true epidemic that must be discussed. However, due to the sensitive material, there are those that may be triggered by the content. If you find that you are, please text START to Crisis Textline at 747-747.
Whew. This was an incredibly fast-paced read. It was handled with compassion and grace for such an incredibly devastating topic.
Floyd has already lost one of his best friends to suicide. When the body is found is described briefly, and it is mentioned how Aaron kills himself. It only mentions how one other person in the book dies by suicide, and the rest are only mentioned as cause of death as a generalized suicide with no means attached.
Melanie Florence knows what she's doing when it comes to mimicking a teen mind. She is able to draw the full scope of how devastated Floyd is by his people dying around him while also discussing his hope and how he is no where near depression or substance abuse. Floyd is a strong character that is able to see where hope lies in his tribe and works desperately to do what he can to save them all. The rest of his friends are a bit two dimensional, except for Mouse. However, I still loved the group dynamic and it brought back comforting memories of The Outsiders.
I really appreciated this book, guys. It is so important for teens and adults to understand that it is a discussion to be had. In the book, there is a group of girls discussed. Their ages might surprise adults--and it shouldn't. More and more very young kids are attempting to kill themselves. And it is incredibly important that Florence included this bit in the book. I also work as a Crisis Counselor, and the topics reflected in this book are seen daily with the conversations I have with kids--the hopelessness, the feelings of wanting their families to be better off and that they'll be better off with them, the bullying, and the bright little spark that still wants to live.
Read this book for the sake of the kids around you. Read this book if you've never contemplation killing yourself, but know friends that have. Read this book. Just because it is focused on the epidemic of suicides on reservations does not mean it can't be applied elsewhere--this is a universal topic that Florence handled with dignity, grace, and hope.