Fire Song by Adam Garnet Jones

9781554519774

by Adam Garnet Jones
Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Our hero, Shane, is still reeling from his little sister’s suicide, while also trying to navigate his secret relationship with her best friend, David, and his not-secret relationship with his girlfriend, Tara. But when Tara finds out about David, the shit really hits the fan. Meanwhile, Shane’s mom is deep in grief over Destiny’s death and seemingly oblivious to the state of the house, which is literally crumbling around them. Shane’s mom’s depression and the crumbling house conspire to keep him on the reserve (reservation), while everything in him screams to be in Toronto, at college. There’s a tribal enrollment snafu that’s keeping him from the scholarship money he desperately needs, so he gives in and agrees to sell drugs to make money, which David disapproves of.

Gay teen romance still gets me, and this one did not disappoint, especially when the scenes between Shane and David are contrasted with scenes between Shane and Tara. Jones’ Cree ancestry makes the characters wonderfully well-rounded and brutally honest about life on the reserve. There is abuse and drugs and poverty and nosy people, but there is also a close-knit community with important ceremonies to bind them together and continue their way of life. David’s grandmother is an important elder who is also sometimes at odds with the other adults in the community. It bugged me a little that I didn’t know how old David was, but I mostly got over that.

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