If I Ever Get Out of Here

By: Eric Gansworth

1975: Air Force brat George is the only white kid to befriend Lewis, a Tuscarora Indian. They bond over music at George’s house, but Lewis never invites George to the rez. Playlist and discography.

ISBN: 9780545417303

JLG Release: Dec 2013


Sensitive Areas: Strong language, Discrimination, Underage drinking, Underage viewing of pornography, Allusion to drug use
Topics: Tuscarora Indians , Families of military personnel , Identity , Friendship , Music , New York State , Race relations , Tuscarora Nation Reservation, New York

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Awards & Honors

YALSA 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults; Winner, IRA Notable Books for a Global Society, 2014

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Book List*, The Horn Book Magazine, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)

School Library Journal

In 1970s upstate New York, Lewis Blake inhabits two separate universes: the reservation where he lives in poverty with his mother and uncle, and school, where the fact that he is American Indian (and his sardonic sense of humor) has made him an outcast and a victim of bullying. The seventh grader has begun to accept his status until a new kid shows In 1970s upstate New York, Lewis Blake inhabits two separate universes: the reservation where he lives in poverty with his mother and uncle, and school, where the fact that he is American Indian (and his sardonic sense of humor) has made him an outcast and a victim of bullying. The seventh grader has begun to accept his status until a new kid shows up in his class. George Haddonfield grew up on air force bases around the world and doesn’t seem to know or care about the divisions between the reservation kids and everyone else. Although Lewis and George bond over their shared love of the Beatles, George’s friendly overtures to visit are constantly rebuffed by Lewis, who isn’t sure if their tentative friendship will be able to withstand the jarring differences between George’s home and his own. Can a love of rock and roll overcome all? Lewis’s relationships with his mother, his uncle, and even his peers ring true and draw readers deep into his world. Life on the reservation is so vividly depicted that scenes set elsewhere, such as the air force base where George lives, feel a little flatly drawn in comparison. Nonetheless, the overall tenor and wry humor of this novel more than make up for its weaknesses.—Evelyn Khoo Schwartz, Georgetown Day School, Washington, DC

Horn Book

Lewis Blake is a brainiac kid from the Tuscarora Indian Reservation in 1970s upstate New York. Beginning his second year (seventh grade) in a mostly white county junior high school, he’s tired of not fitting in. He cuts off his braid, tries to hide the fact that he’s in the free-lunch program, and even fantasizes about getting plastic s Lewis Blake is a brainiac kid from the Tuscarora Indian Reservation in 1970s upstate New York. Beginning his second year (seventh grade) in a mostly white county junior high school, he’s tired of not fitting in. He cuts off his braid, tries to hide the fact that he’s in the free-lunch program, and even fantasizes about getting plastic surgery. But he also worries that fitting in would mean “stripping my Indian life away completely first.” The arrival of newcomer “air force kid” George Haddonfield allows Lewis to make a friend and helps him cope with the extreme bullying he experiences at school. But does his friendship with George constitute a betrayal of his own world? Beatles music provides common ground for the two boys, and titles for the novel’s three sections (and the author’s original paintings) are riffs on Beatles songs, while chapter titles alternate between Beatles and Paul McCartney post-Beatles tunes. In the chapter “Venus and Mars,” Lewis’s uncle Albert explains, “The red planet is like the rez here. That other planet, Venus, I guess, that’s the other planet your buddy comes from…And we ain’t got no rez rocket that’s ever gonna get you to that other one.” Gansworth’s YA debut is a fine story with depth and heart; like Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian (rev. 9/07), it is engaging and authentic. Readers will welcome the inclusion of a playlist and discography. DEAN SCHNEIDER

Book Details

ISBN

9780545417303

First Release

December 2013

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

F

Trim Size

5 1/2" x 8 1/4"

Page Count

368

Accelerated Reader

Level 5.6; Points: 16;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 5.6; Points: 23;

Lexile

Level 870L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Arthur A. Levine

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Strong language, Discrimination, Underage drinking, Underage viewing of pornography, Allusion to drug use

Topics

Tuscarora Indians, Families of military personnel, Identity, Friendship, Music, New York State, Race relations, Tuscarora Nation Reservation, New York,

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