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Fire Song
Cover of Fire Song
Fire Song
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How can Shane reconcile his feelings for David with his desire for a better life? 

Shane is still reeling from the suicide of his kid sister, Destiny.  How could he have missed the fact that she was so sad? He tries to share his grief with his girlfriend, Tara, but she's too concerned with her own needs to offer him much comfort.  What he really wants is to be able to turn to the one person on the rez whom he loves—his friend, David. 

Things go from bad to worse as Shane's dream of going to university is shattered and his grieving mother withdraws from the world. Worst of all, he and David have to hide their relationship from everyone.  Shane feels that his only chance of a better life is moving to Toronto, but David refuses to join him. When yet another tragedy strikes, the two boys have to make difficult choices about their future together.

With deep insight into the life of Indigenous people on the reserve, this book masterfully portrays how a community looks to the past for guidance and comfort while fearing a future of poverty and shame. Shane's rocky road to finding himself takes many twists and turns, but ultimately ends with him on a path that doesn't always offer easy answers, but one that leaves the reader optimistic about his fate.

How can Shane reconcile his feelings for David with his desire for a better life? 

Shane is still reeling from the suicide of his kid sister, Destiny.  How could he have missed the fact that she was so sad? He tries to share his grief with his girlfriend, Tara, but she's too concerned with her own needs to offer him much comfort.  What he really wants is to be able to turn to the one person on the rez whom he loves—his friend, David. 

Things go from bad to worse as Shane's dream of going to university is shattered and his grieving mother withdraws from the world. Worst of all, he and David have to hide their relationship from everyone.  Shane feels that his only chance of a better life is moving to Toronto, but David refuses to join him. When yet another tragedy strikes, the two boys have to make difficult choices about their future together.

With deep insight into the life of Indigenous people on the reserve, this book masterfully portrays how a community looks to the past for guidance and comfort while fearing a future of poverty and shame. Shane's rocky road to finding himself takes many twists and turns, but ultimately ends with him on a path that doesn't always offer easy answers, but one that leaves the reader optimistic about his fate.

Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
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Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
    760
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:
    3 - 4

Recommended for you

About the Author-
  • Adam Garnet Jones (Ka-nîpawit Iskotêk) is a Cree filmmaker and writer. Fire Song is an adaptation of his award-winning feature film of the same name. Adam lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Reviews-
  • School Library Journal

    February 1, 2018

    Gr 9 Up-Shane is a gay Anishinaabe high school student. His sister, Destiny, has just committed suicide for unknown reasons. Shane's mom holes herself up in Destiny's room in a deep depression. At her memorial service, Shane goes emotionally adrift. The only person that truly makes Shane happy is David. Everything else about his life sucks: the teen has to pretend to have a girlfriend while sneaking around with David because he doesn't think his community would accept his sexuality. Shane decides that he must leave the reservation and wants David to go with him. He even tries selling drugs to get some escape money. After his girlfriend, Tara, commits suicide, Shane withdraws further within himself and begins to wonder if his life is worth leading. This complex, well-written debut will resonate with young people. The primary and secondary characters are fully developed and the pacing will keep readers engaged. Despite the dangerous turn of events, the two boys eventually find love and acceptance. VERDICT A great coming-out novel with Native American protagonists; recommended for all teen collections.-Jill Baetiong, Kaneville Public Library, IL

    Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from January 15, 2018
    After the sudden death of his sister, Shane, an Anishinaabe teen, is left to carry the weight of grief for his family.His mother is inconsolable. His girlfriend has become clingy. And his secret love, David, keeps him at a distance, as the pair hasn't quite found a way to co-exist within a reservation community where there are no openly gay couples. Shane is dealt another crushing blow after his sister's memorial when he discovers that the funding for his college tuition deposit hasn't been approved by the band. College in Toronto is the one escape that Shane believes will offer him a semblance of a future that might not be forever lost within the cyclical trauma that exists in his community--even though his family sees his leaving the rez to go to college as a betrayal. From the first page, Cree/Metis filmmaker Jones (adapting his award-winning film of the same name) uses a poetic voice to interlace the landscape and the main character as one symbiotic being. Complex, vulnerable emotion is embedded within the specificity of the writing in this dramatic prose debut. Jones avoids cliches of reservation life, humanizing the stories of how his people reconcile the trauma of suicide, missing family members, same-sex relationships, and the isolation of a community left to fend for itself. A touching story that has been a long time coming for the Indigenous community. (Fiction. 14-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 7, 2018
    “No one tells you how much you can hurt and still look normal on the outside,” says Shane, an 18-year-old Anishinaabe living in Canada. The rundown reservation that he calls home is at once comforting, isolating, and stifling. Shane’s younger sister Destiny’s recent suicide has prompted him to navigate his own jagged emotions. As his mother falls apart emotionally, the bright spots in Shane’s life become his secret boyfriend, David, and the thought of escaping to Toronto for college. But David doesn’t want to leave the reservation, and Shane’s lack of funds leads him to deal drugs. Jones’s striking and remarkable novel, adapted from his feature film of the same name, is tensely narrated and includes some chapters featuring Shane’s public girlfriend Tara’s diary entries and poetry. Tara doesn’t know that Shane is gay and loves him, which adds another layer of sadness and complication to the lyrical story. Jones’s intensely personal account about letting go to move forward is replete with immersive imagery of nature and bathed in darkness. Ages 14–18.

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    Annick Press
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Fire Song
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Adam Garnet Jones
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