Teen readers really ought to bury their noses in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Alexie brings to life an eye-opening, gripping, comical, and often unsettling account of a 14-year-old Native American boy who lives on an Indian reservation and endures hardships ranging from medical issues to bullying to living with an alcoholic father. Junior aims to rise above life on the “rez,” and through his life tragedies, he finds a strength within him he never knew existed. Be aware that there are some themes that you may determine are not appropriate for your teen (e.g., racism, alcoholism, masturbation, language); however, the issues are real-life concerns that can lead to positive and productive family discussions. You may even want to consider reading this book with your child to encourage meaningful dialogue. Be prepared for an emotional response to the threads that weave this story together—they are powerful.
Note: Common Sense Media recommends this book for teens ages 14 and older.