Publishers WeeklyOpening with fast-paced sketches of a lacrosse game and punctuated by the reverent thoughts of a teenage Iroquois player, Bruchac's (Pocahontas, reviewed below) contemporary novel will draw in both sports enthusiasts and those with an interest in Native American culture. Jake Forrest, who has grown up on the "rez," leaves it to live with his widowed mother, a high-powered attorney. When he enters an exclusive boys' prep school, he learns that it has made room for him based on his lacrosse prowess; student life revolves around the game. Thanks to his gifts, Jake seems to gain acceptance easily. However, his teammates' and coach's well-meaning but ignorant remarks leave Jake isolated and increasingly aware of the enormous differences in their values. Only after the coach is seriously injured does Jake find a way to explain the spiritual dimensions of lacrosse and to embody the Iroquois ideal: "To be a true warrior meant you had to love peace and keep that love of peace in your heart." While the plot seems contrived to deliver the lesson, and while Jake, in all his perfection and purity, seems more paragon than a flesh-and-blood character, Bruchac offsets these drawbacks with the smoothness of the prose and the beauty of his evocation of Native American spirituality and wisdom traditions. Readers will want to believe in the story and in Jake. Ages 9-11. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library JournalGr 5-8-Contemporary realistic fiction that incorporates background information on a specific Native American culture but does not overwhelm readers is far too rare. In Warriors, Bruchac introduces Jake Forrest, a young teenager who leaves the Iroquois reservation where he was raised to live with his mother, a lawyer in Maryland, and attend a prestigious private boy's school. Like many kids his age, Jake wrestles with the difficulties of moving to a new city, fitting in at a new school, and trying to make the best of his one-parent family. Additionally, he endures many little offenses, like the nickname "Chief," and bigger ones, like the biased presentation of events in history class. Throughout the novel, the author mixes just the right amount of universal teen experience and culturally specific perspective to make Jake's story appealing to a broad audience. Plus, as a sports novel, Warriors is just plain fun, with action-packed descriptions of lacrosse that put readers right on the field with the players. One hopes that books like this will encourage more teens, from all ethnic backgrounds, to recognize and internalize their own traditions instead of opting for mainstream popular culture.-Sean George, Memphis-Shelby County Public Library & Information Center, Memphis, TN Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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