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Authors

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Book Info

Author:
Series:

When We Were Young series by Maggie Blackbird

Series Type:
Same group of characters and story world
Number In Series:
1
Publisher:
Devine Destinies
Published:
12 June 2020
Formats
Book Type
Words:
67,345
Pages:
235
Genre's

Review

Reviewed By: Josh Dale

5/5

The story is based on a indigenous reservation and the surrounding nature. The world is very immersive and brought to life by the main character Billy Redsky his foster family.

We start with Billy a 16-year-old, who through no fault of his own is forced to sell drugs to his school mates or face severe kick ins by his elder brother. His mother a a drunk and is either out with her latest boyfriend or laid up in a drunken stupor. Billy survives on the money his brother gives him for selling the drugs, to feed himself. Worst of all is he carries his family name Redsky aka the lowest of the low on the reservation.

 

René Oshawee is the son of the reservations Chief, and on the outside, he is the coolest dude in school, all the girls adore him, and the guys admire him. But Rene has his own problems, he is struggling with his bisexuality and the expectations his father has of him.

We follow the two teenagers as they Slowly build a friendship, Billy wants to be more then friends with Rene. He has done for a long while. Rene seems to care for Billy and kind of takes him under his wing. But also sends mixed message that keep Billy second guessing.

The story deals with a lot of issues that Teenagers go through, from a drunken parent and a abusive brother to sexuality and parents and peer expectations and pressure.

Though there are many tough issues dealt with, I was left feeling positive and hopeful.

The chemistry between the two guys is perfectly portrayed in the authors writing style, and you feel the love the characters have for each other.

Rene gave Billy hope and friendship when he needed it most, and in doing so allowed Billy a chance to be himself. And Billy gives Rene the courage to face his sexuality.

I also really like the relationship between Billy and his foster father, and we learn a little about the indigenous culture.

A thoroughly enjoyable read that is not only thought provoking, making you think about life in other people’s shoes but also leaves you smiling and hopeful,

Biography

An Ojibway from Northwestern Ontario, Maggie resides in the country with her husband and their fur babies, two beautiful Alaskan Malamutes. When she’s not writing, she can be found pulling weeds in the flower beds, mowing the huge lawn, walking the Mals deep in the bush, teeing up a ball at the golf course, fishing in the boat for walleye, or sitting on the deck at her sister’s house, making more wonderful memories with the people she loves most.

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