Review by Booklist Review
*Starred Review* Talaga, a veteran investigative reporter for the Toronto Star, has crafted an urgent and unshakable portrait of the horrors faced by indigenous teens going to school in Thunder Bay, Ontario, far from their homes and families. Since the early twentieth century, indigenous children living on Native reservations in northwestern Ontario have lacked access to a quality education. A child's best shot at a bright future is to move away from home and attend school in one of the bigger nearby cities, like Thunder Bay. This often means fleeing the nest and living independently at only 13 or 14 years old. Aside from the premature launch, indigenous teenagers face a myriad of hardships while attending big-city high schools rampant racism, extreme underage alcohol and substance abuse, along with physical and sexual violence. Talaga chronicles seven untimely and largely unsolved deaths that have taken place among Native Thunder Bay students since the new millennium. Seven families lost children too soon, and seven families were denied justice by police, coroners, and school administrators. Talaga's incisive research and breathtaking storytelling could bring this community one step closer to the healing it deserves.--Eathorne, Courtney Copyright 2017 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Journalist Talaga's debut, about the deaths of seven young indigenous people between 2000 and 2011 in Thunder Bay, Ont., is a powerful examination and critique of present and past Canadian policies on indigenous peoples. The book is broken into sections, each one introducing readers to a promising indigenous youth who was forced to move hundreds of kilometers from a northern community to Thunder Bay in order to complete an education. Instead of finding opportunities, these young people found racism, indifference, violence, and finally death. Many questions about each death remain unanswered, but each one was immediately deemed accidental, some noted as such by the local police even before a coroner had a chance to conduct an autopsy. Talaga's research is meticulous and her journalistic style is crisp and uncompromising. She brings each story to life, skillfully weaving the stories of the youths' lives, deaths, and families together with sharp analysis. She connects each death to neocolonial policies and institutional racism in all levels of governments, as well as the legacy of Canada's infamously abusive residential schools. The book is heartbreaking and infuriating, both an important testament to the need for change and a call to action. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.