Alexie, Sherman. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. New York: Little Brown & Co., 2007. Print.
Junior has to get off the rez if he doesn't want to die a drunk Indian.
Reason for Nomination:
Every reason! Sherman Alexie is a master storyteller. It is funny, bittersweet, insightful, irreverent, and it's a damn good story. Plus, it has wonderful little cartoons added to give it that "graphic novel" element, but with really great writing and dialogue, something I think the graphic novels lack.
Arnold Spirit is Junior, a fourteen-year-old Spokane Reservation Indian trying to make it in a world that has tried to sequester and kill off all that's left of his own kind. But his own kind is doing a good job of hurrying their own demise by drinking themselves dead first.
An intelligent, book-loving, thoughtful, sensitive geek, Junior is a keen observer of people and of life, and draws cartoons to touch on what is universal in humanity. As he says, a cartoon is understood by anyone, speaking any language. Every teen can relate to them, as well as Junior's search to find his place in an often hostile world.
Junior takes a long-view of life on the rez, and sees that his only chance to thrive -- hell, even survive -- is to make it on the outside, by first attending a white school. But that means being a traitor to his own kind, and worse yet, his best friend. His journey to find his identity in a white world without losing the parts of himself and his heritage that are Spokane Indian is a tightrope act with dizzying ramifications.
Genre Categories: Humor, Alex Award Winner, Adult-Market Author, Censored/Challenged, Multicultural, Coming-of-Age/Search for Identity, Problem Novel/Realistic/Edgy Fiction.