cover image If I Ever Get Out of Here

If I Ever Get Out of Here

Eric Gansworth. Scholastic/Levine, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-545-41730-3

Set in the mid-1970s, adult author Gansworth’s first novel for teens introduces Lewis Blake, a seventh-grader who lives on the same impoverished Tuscarora reservation in New York State where the author himself grew up. Ever since Lewis’s alcoholic father took off, the boy has been raised by his overworked mother and Vietnam vet uncle. A couple of years earlier, Lewis’s smarts landed him in the local junior high, off the reservation, but fitting in has never been an option. He lucks out, however, when Air Force brat George Haddonfield arrives in town and picks Lewis as his new best friend. Although their backgrounds couldn’t be more different—George has lived in Germany and Guam, while Lewis sees the rez as his past, present, and future—they bond over a shared love of the Beatles and Wings, as well as making music. Although the plot takes time to get going, as a bully stirs up trouble for Lewis, readers will appreciate the teenager’s sharp insights into being an outsider and Gansworth’s intimate knowledge of the prejudices and injustices inherent to Lewis’s life. Ages 12–up. (Aug.)