The reviews euphemistically call it a “coming of age” story, as if calling it YA might diminish the book’s standing as a work of literature. It’s both, which is why I liked it. The story centres around a group of teenagers grappling with growing up, drugs, family hardship, abuse, and first love in an isolated part of the northwest. Van Camp gets inside the head of a teenager, lending an authentic voice to the story. There is a plot, but the book is more about characters discovering themselves, the world, and each other - basically, high school.
One of the most interesting parts of the book was the way the main character’s exploration of his Dogrib heritage and the quirkiness of his personality were layered on top of the traditional “who am I?” question at the core of most YA. He’s an outsider literally - being new to Fort Simmer - and figuratively.
I also liked how fluid friendships and good guy/ bad guy definitions were. I’ve never been a teenage boy, but I believe you can punch a guy in the face one day and be his friend the next.
I feel like staying in Canada …