Everyone has totemic books, books that mean something to them beyond the words on a page. It's a wonderful thing when a book that is special and meaningful is also funny and terrifically written. Yes, it's a coming-of-age story, set in 1942 in the southwest; it's also shrewd and miraculously observant about people and their behavior, about what happens when cultures bump up against each other. I discovered this book when I was fifteen (a new transplant from a city to a small rural town) and immediately fell in love with it. I've given copies to people over the years, and phrases from the book have worked their way into constant use.
It also has the best dead horse scene in literature, a U.S. Army VD training film which is not to be missed, and a scene with an irate father of twins that will blow your socks (and regions nearby) off.
I can't see anyone old enough to appreciate it not loving RED SKY.