Lewis "Shoe" Blake is used to the joys and difficulties of life on the Tuscarora Indian reservation in 1975: the joking, the Fireball games, the snow blowing through his roof. What he's not used to is white people being nice to him -- people like George Haddonfield, whose family recently moved to town with the Air Force. As the boys connect through their mutual passion for music, especially the Beatles, Lewis has to lie more and more to hide the reality of his family's poverty from George. He also has to deal with the vicious Evan Reininger, who makes Lewis the special target of his wrath. But when everyone else is on Evan's side, how can he be defeated? And if George finds out the truth about Lewis's home -- will he still be his friend?
About the Author
Eric Gansworth (Sˑha-weñ na-saeˀ) is Lowery Writer-in-Residence and Professor of English at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY and was recently NEH Distinguished Visiting Professor at Colgate University. An enrolled Onondaga, he was born and raised at the Tuscarora Indian Nation, just outside Niagara Falls, NY. His debut novel for young readers, If I Ever Get Out of Here, was a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults pick and an American Indian Library Association Young Adult Honor selection, and he is the author of numerous acclaimed books for adults. Eric is also a visual artist, generally incorporating paintings as integral elements into his written work. His work has been widely shown and anthologized and has appeared in IROQUOIS ART: POWER AND HISTORY, THE KENYON REVIEW, and SHENANDOAH, among other places, and he was recently selected for inclusion in LIT CITY, a Just Buffalo Literary Center public arts project celebrating Buffalo's literary legacy. Please visit his website at www.ericgansworth.com.
"[A] funny, poignant young-adult debut." -- Washington Post "Eric Gansworth fearlessly lays down the truth about what it's like to grow up poor, and the strength it takes to hold your head high and find a way out." -- Laurie Halse Anderson, author of The Impossible Knife of Memory and Forge * "Gansworth, himself an enrolled member of the Onondaga Nation, explores the boys' organic relationship with generosity and tenderness and unflinching clarity, sidestepping stereotypes to offer two genuine characters navigating the unlikely intersection of two fully realized worlds.... And although Gansworth manages the weighty themes of racism and poverty with nuance and finesse, at its heart, this is a rare and freehearted portrait of true friendship." -- Booklist, starred review "If I Ever Get Out of Here rings true with a sophisticated look at what it's like to be an outsider and what it takes to be a true friend…. More than just engaging, [it] is the sort of book that can spark all kinds of meaningful conversation." -- Los Angeles Times "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." -- Publishers Weekly "A heart-healing, mocs-on-the-ground story of music, family and friendship." -- Cynthia Leitich Smith, author of Tantalize and Rain Is Not My Indian Name