Powerful, intense, and Oh-So-Worth your time to read.


A group of Urban Native American teens are preparing to attend the Big Oakland Powwow. Each feels a bit disconnected with their culture and is also struggling with life at home. Within the group is Dene Oxendene, an aspiring filmmaker; Octavio Gomez, a drug dealer; half-sisters Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield and Jacquie Red Feather; Jacquie’s culturally adrift grandchildren Orvil, Lony, and Loother; and Tony Loneman, a young angry man shamed by the scars of fetal alcohol syndrome. 

Octavio enlists the help of Tony and three friends to rob the powwow. The cash prizes are worth tens of thousands of dollars, and Octavio has in mind that Tony will take the fall for the theft. With the powwow and Grand Showcase now close, members of the group are learning about themselves, how their stories are connected, and immersing themselves in the festivities. Are these changes impacting the planned theft? Or are Octavio and friends forging ahead? 

 BTSYA / Teen Reader (16):
I love the way the novel describes the historical elements that caused the divide between Native Americans and society. The context is important to understanding some of the events in the novel and the impact on individuals, Through the characters, the story makes the cultural reconnections with culture a lot more interesting to read

In addition to the historical aspect, I quite enjoyed the writing style. The author lets us into each character’s mind so we can understand their problems completely. This makes the story much more interesting and joins the plot together as we learn how the problems are so interconnected: they all stem from the same disconnect to one's culture. 

There There is important for all history buffs or anyone with an interest in US History. The story reveals Native American history, that is not found in textbooks. The book is fairly dark, but I think anyone 14 and older can handle it. If you don't like graphic violence, don't read this book. 

Content Awareness Factors:

Text includes profanity and extreme violence.

Type of Book:
This is a young adult novel that is both historical fiction novel and part biographical.
Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
15 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
14 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 16

Title There There
Author Tommy Orange
Publisher Vintage Books, Imprint Knopf Doubleday © 2019 (Reprint Edition)
ISBN 9780525436140
Material Paperback
Cost $16.00
Genres Native & Indigenous People, Social Issues
be the star you are
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