Author: Jay Jordan Hawke
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Pages/Word Count: 180 Pages
At a Glance: A difficult book to get through, but ends well
Blurb: Sequel to Pukawiss The Outcast: The Two-spirit Chronicles: Book Two
In the months following the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard, fourteen-year-old Joshua, a half Native American boy, is new to a Boy Scout troop and spending a week camping in northern Wisconsin. The weaker kids in the troop soon realize Joshua is not afraid to stand up to the troop’s ruthless bullies. Joshua’s bravery and kindness is infectious, and the bullied Scouts quickly find their own inner strength.
Joshua, however, is plagued by self-doubt as he realizes he has feelings for Cody, the son of the troop’s harsh and puritanical Scoutmaster. The two discover they have more in common than Scouting as they share their deepest secrets and develop a close friendship. That friendship faces its greatest challenge as the homophobic bullies claim a “faggot” has “infected” their troop. As if struggling to come to terms with his sexuality while dealing with hatred and bigotry isn’t enough, Joshua discovers the camp holds another dark mystery, one that will make him summon all his courage and learn for the first time what it truly means to be brave.
Review: In Jay Jordan Hawke’s <A Scout Is Brave, we meet up with Joshua Ishkoday, a 14 yr old part-Native American teenager who Is forced by his mother, a strict Protestant, to join the Boy Scouts as a way to discourage him from embracing his Native American heritage. It quickly becomes clear that Joshua isn’t intimidated by the bullies at camp, and is more than willing to stand up for himself and the younger/weaker kids in his troop.
I’m finding this book hard to review, and it was almost a DNF for me, not because it’s a bad book because it’s not, and I’m glad I read it, but I was just so disappointed with the adults in the story. Most of the grownups in this book, especially the scout leader, were immature bigots and just plain mean. I kind of wanted to shake them a little bit. I wouldn’t want my kids within a hundred yards of any of them, and I think it’s sad that not one adult was there for the guys. Another thing that kept tripping me up was that a lot of the time I forgot that Josh and his friends were in the 11-14 year old age range because they come across so confident, and the way they spoke made them sound years older than they were.
One of the things I really liked about A Scout Is Brave was how well Jay Jordan Hawke wrote the bullies and their gang. They were very believable and so was the dynamic of their group. I love that Josh sticks up for the younger kids and stands up to the bullies, and even when the bullies push back, Josh still doesn’t back down or shy away.
So, like I said, this book was really hard to read, but in the end I’m happy I did.
You can buy A Scout Is Brave here: