Monday, May 16, 2011
I am Nuchu by Brenda Stanley–OPTIONAL
Cal is a normal teenager living a happy life with a many hopes for the future. He is also a half-Ute Native American who has always had pride in his heritage. After a divorce, his mother moves Cal and his two younger siblings back to her Indian reservation in Utah. Cal is torn apart by all the changes and struggles to reconcile his introduction to both the Native community and nearby white community. Matters grow more complex when Cal finds out that everything in his life isn’t quite right and there are more secrets than answers. When tragedies from the past and the present combine Cal’s world will be turned upside down. Can he find a path through the ruins of his life?
This book includes incredibly intense drama including murders and suicide, constant physical altercations, casual drinking and drug use, and a lack of meaningful cultural connections. It was however, thought provoking. I think teens will relate to the emotional upheaval that Cal is experiencing. A skillful and willing teacher may be able to draw essays, themes, and discussions out of this book while downplaying its reliance on violent dramatics to fuel the story.
HS – OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Stephanie MLS graduate.