Lewis "Shoe" Blake is used to the joys and difficulties of life on the Tuscarora Indian reservation in 1975: the joking, the Fireball games, the snow blowing through his roof. What he's not used to is white people being nice to him -- people like George Haddonfield, whose family recently moved to town with the Air Force. As the boys connect through their mutual passion for music, especially the Beatles, Lewis has to lie more and more to hide the reality of his family's poverty from George. He also has to deal with the vicious Evan Reininger, who makes Lewis the special target of his wrath. But when everyone else is on Evan's side, how can he be defeated? And if George finds out the truth about Lewis's home -- will he still be his friend?
Acclaimed adult author Eric Gansworth makes his YA debut with this wry and powerful novel about friendship, memory, and the joy of rock 'n' roll.
Set in the mid-1970s, adult author Gansworth s first novel for teens introduces Lewis Blake, a seventh-grader who lives on the same impoverished Tuscarora reservation in New York State where the author himself grew up. Ever since Lewis s alcoholic father took off, the boy has been raised by his overworked mother and Vietnam vet uncle. A couple of years earlier, Lewis s smarts landed him in the local junior high, off the reservation, but fitting in has never been an option. He lucks out, however, when Air Force brat George Haddonfield arrives in town and picks Lewis as his new best friend. Although their backgrounds couldn t be more different George has lived in Germany and Guam, while Lewis sees the rez as his past, present, and future they bond over a shared love of the Beatles and Wings, as well as making music. Although the plot takes time to get going, as a bully stirs up trouble for Lewis, readers will appreciate the teenager s sharp insights into being an outsider and Gansworth s intimate knowledge of the prejudices and injustices inherent to Lewis s life. Ages 12 up.