The Brave -- a Native American Novel with a special look at life's problems


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

We are continuing our celebration of Native American Heritage Month with a middle grades novel today. This novel delves into Native American life but it also has important messages for everyone to learn. It is such an interesting story and has fascinating characters. The book is The Brave by James Bird. 

From the Publisher:

Perfect for fans of Rain Reign, this middle-grade novel The Brave is about a boy with an OCD issue and his move to a reservation to live with his biological mother.

Collin can't help himself―he has a unique condition that finds him counting every letter spoken to him. It's a quirk that makes him a prime target for bullies, and a continual frustration to the adults around him, including his father.

When Collin asked to leave yet another school, his dad decides to send him to live in Minnesota with the mother he's never met. She is Ojibwe, and lives on a reservation. Collin arrives in Duluth with his loyal dog, Seven, and quickly finds his mom and his new home to be warm, welcoming, and accepting of his condition.

Collin’s quirk is matched by that of his neighbor, Orenda, a girl who lives mostly in her treehouse and believes she is turning into a butterfly. With Orenda’s help, Collin works hard to overcome his challenges. His real test comes when he must step up for his new friend and trust his new family.

From Me: 

Wow, what a powerful story. From dealing with bullies and being different to learning to care about others and how to find one's place this book has what is so important in middle school. Middle school is hard but when you are in middle school and have a condition like Collin's it is even harder. Add on that his father does not support him or even know how to truly be a parent and his life is miserable. He is moved around from school to school because they don't know how to deal with him and then as a last straw his father sends him to live with his Native American mother he has never met. However that move changes his life and he truly learns who he is and is accepted for the first time. 

It is full of emotion and a bit of magic as well as Native American culture.  With the help of his family and friend he learns how to deal with the issue and really learns about what life is truly about. He learns how to be himself and accept himself and others. He learns how his life can affect others and learns to live in his own skin. The Native American culture is there but more as part of his life and how his mother lives. 

While trying to fight his own OCD issue he also has to come to terms with Orenda's health issues. It has some Native American beliefs and some magic mixed in. It is truly a book about friendship and family and growing up. This is a must read coming of age book.