cover image THE WARRIORS


Joseph Bruchac, . . Darby Creek, $15.95 (117pp) ISBN 978-1-58196-002-0

Opening with fast-paced sketches of a lacrosse game and punctuated by the reverent thoughts of a teenage Iroquois player, Bruchac's (Pocahontas, reviewed below) contemporary novel will draw in both sports enthusiasts and those with an interest in Native American culture. Jake Forrest, who has grown up on the "rez," leaves it to live with his widowed mother, a high-powered attorney. When he enters an exclusive boys' prep school, he learns that it has made room for him based on his lacrosse prowess; student life revolves around the game. Thanks to his gifts, Jake seems to gain acceptance easily. However, his teammates' and coach's well-meaning but ignorant remarks leave Jake isolated and increasingly aware of the enormous differences in their values. Only after the coach is seriously injured does Jake find a way to explain the spiritual dimensions of lacrosse and to embody the Iroquois ideal: "To be a true warrior meant you had to love peace and keep that love of peace in your heart." While the plot seems contrived to deliver the lesson, and while Jake, in all his perfection and purity, seems more paragon than a flesh-and-blood character, Bruchac offsets these drawbacks with the smoothness of the prose and the beauty of his evocation of Native American spirituality and wisdom traditions. Readers will want to believe in the story and in Jake. Ages 9-11. (Aug.)