I have not read a lot of teen fiction, so I'm in no position to say how this book compares to others of that genre. Perhaps that is a good thing because on its own this is a great book not only for teenagers, but anyone.Alexie has made a name for himself as a novelist and director, and he incorporates his American Indian culture into his work. In this novel we get the viewpoint of Junior, an unusual kid with good instincts who decides to pursue his education off the reservation. But he does not go for the slightly better schools, he heads off to the all white top-of-the line school 20 miles away.As a teenager, I would have loved this. Alexie is brutally honest without being sentimental. Plenty of people die in this book (but I will not tell you who), but there are not huge build ups with dramatic finishes. People just die for different reasons and Junior has to move on. And he usually does so with an attitude of hope.This book also gives a glimpse into life on the reservation, which is poor, filled with too much drinking, and often a dead-end beginning for people. But Alexie also celebrates the strong community people find there, addresses the racism the Indians endure, and provides stories of hope.While not a sentimental book (well, okay, it gets a bit sentimental at the end), it does offer teenagers a sense of hope.My daughter recommended the book to me. She is volunteering at an American Indian school in Montana and this book is required in one of the classes. Much of this material could get a teacher in trouble in most communities, but it deals head on with the real life issues she sees these children facing. Including the "rescue" by white people! If you are not familiar with life on a reservation (and I'm not) this is a step in familiarity worth taking.