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If I Ever Get Out of Here
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If I Ever Get Out of Here

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  2,595 ratings  ·  524 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published July 30th 2013 by Arthur A. Levine Books
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Valerie George calls him "Shoe Box" and then eventually "Shoe" because he jokes that Lewis grew up in a shoe box. It starts in chapter two - where George is d…moreGeorge calls him "Shoe Box" and then eventually "Shoe" because he jokes that Lewis grew up in a shoe box. It starts in chapter two - where George is describing what a huge Beatles fan his father is.
"'Those blocks didn't just have music clubs. they were also the place where all the hookers hung out.'
'Hookers?' I asked, picturing a group of people with prosthetic arms."
We don't fully appreciate Lewis' new nickname until chapter ten, though.
"'What'd I tell you about acting dumb, Shoe Box?' He's taken to calling me that if I made a particularly dense observation."(less)
Karen Henley I wouldn't Say anticipation, No. This is a character-driven story. It is however, very well-written and poignant. I recommend this book highly, but if…moreI wouldn't Say anticipation, No. This is a character-driven story. It is however, very well-written and poignant. I recommend this book highly, but if you are looking for action, look elsewhere. The "coolness" of this book comes from the lead character's internal struggles and self-discovery.(less)

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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  2,595 ratings  ·  524 reviews

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jv poore
This book begins with an “Indian” (Native American) entering Jr. High. While, on the surface, his trials and tribulations appear to be based on ethnicity and, in turn, poverty. The facts are that many students entering Jr. High (or Middle School) this year will experience the same taunting, teasing and bullying that Lewis tolerates. Maybe a student will be singled out due to ethnicity, body shape, hair color, name or wardrobe. The results are the same, which is why I strongly recommend this book ...more
May 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
There are LOT of reasons I love Eric Gansworth's debut novel, and there's lot of entrance points for a broad range of readers, too.

If you're looking for a book with any of these, IF I EVER GET OUT OF HERE delivers.

Native characters
Kids with parents in the Air Force
Books in which Beatles/Queen figure prominently
Single mom
Viet Nam vet
Cross cultural friendships

My full review is at American Indians in Children's Literature
"What I like about Eric Gansworth's IF I EVER GET OUT OF HERE" - http://ameri
Cassi aka Snow White Haggard
Jul 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013, galleys
Review is below PSA that everyone should know about.

 photo Goodreads_zpsfd34dfc1.jpg

When I first started If I Ever Get Out of Here I immediately wanted to compare it to Sherman Alexie's amazing The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-Time Indian. Which is absolutely terrible of me. If I Ever Get Out of Here is a good book in it's own right. It doesn't need to be compared to Alexie's work. There is room for more than one YA book about the American Indian experience growing up on a reservation.

First I want to address the simi
May 05, 2019 rated it liked it
I have to be honest. The narrator's voice sometimes sounds unnatural as he educates his friends (and the reader). The book is very educational, and earnest. The bits of actual adventure are relatively brief. And there's hardly any humor to leaven the message.

Otoh, it's fascinating, and important, and will definitely make all the difference to the right boys, and fill appalling empty gaps in collections. Just, teachers, tread lightly, and please don't spoil it for your students by telling them ho
mindful.librarian ☀️
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
An AMAZING book - can't wait for his next title to come out in May 2018! This book gave me so much to think about, and I'm very happy that 1) I read this for a Librarian Battle of the Books and 2) I already had it in my MSHS library. Should be required reading in all schools in the US. ...more
Nella ☾
Nov 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
National American Indian Heritage Month 2020 Read #3 🍂

4.5 stars

This book was honestly so amazing and insightful. I didn’t realize how much it got to me until I was done, at which point I realized my eyes were watering.

Our story follows 13-year old Lewis “Shoe” Blake, a Native American boy living on the Tuscarora reservation in New York in 1975. We go on this journey with Lewis as he deals with life on the reservation, his struggle with identity, his friendships, and his transition i
Sep 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Read for my YA lit class !! Overall this was pretty good and I enjoyed the class discussions we had (: it just wasn’t my absolute fav

Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another shout out to Powell’s Daily Dose for alerting me to this YA novel about Lewis Blake, a middle-school boy growing up in the Tuscarora Reservation in upstate New York in the 1970’s. Like Junior in Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Lewis moves between two different worlds—the mostly white world of his junior high, where he gets tracked into the “smart section” but he is the only reservation kid—and his home on the Tuscarora reservation—where he lives with his ...more
Nina O'Daniels
Jun 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Yes, yes, this book can absolutely be compared to Sherman Alexie’s novel The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian BUT there are some major differences between the two main characters (both of whom I love) that make each story separate.

Lewis attends school off the reservation and has been placed with the smart kids almost since kindergarten. That part is great, because he likes school. What he doesn’t like is being completely invisible due to him being a res kid- an Indian. He has tried to m
I stayed up until 2 am finishing this. When I started, I was all, "Oh, Part-Time Indian in upstate New York." But no. I still love Alexie's book, but this is no imitation or little brother. If I Ever Get Out of Here stands firmly on its own feet. It is a story of friendship, first and foremost. It's a story of family, school, poverty, standing up for yourself in the face of intense prejudice--but mostly it's about the power of friendship. And music.

Grittier than many MG novels, but solidly PG,
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is probably the most relateable book for middle school students and either side. Just below and just above grades. The book supplies more than just an attempt to entertain its readers. It is about alienation, resiliency, intelligence and grit.

The main character in the book is a Native American Indian in the late 70s just after the Vietnam War. Not only is Lewis an Indian in a White middle school, he is poor and smart, thus the perfect target for taunting, teasing and bullying. These childh
Lulu (the library leopard)
Read for the 2017 Diversity Bingo: indigenous main character (#ownvoices).

I think it's really a testament to how good this was that I managed to enjoy it despite the dangerous combination of many, many Beatles references and my own passive-aggressive attitude towards the Beatles! (That was a compliment, if it wasn't clear.)
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
I picked it up after recognizing that we had the title in our library and it had been featured on a list of books with Native American main characters. But I didn’t connect and it likely had more to do with the incongruous way that it was supposed to be set in 1975 but the book itself looks and reads contemporary. It did not compute and then add the musical elements that was supposed to place it in history and I just because disinterested.

Reading fail unfortunately.
Laura (bbliophile)
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: diversity
I have a feeling that parts of this book are going to stay with me for a long time. I loved the friendship, the family relationship, and a lot more. I would definitely recommend this.
Jul 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
*11/5 stars

{seriously it deserves a million stars}


^ my reaction after finishing this book

conclusion: I freaking loved everything about this book I need to reread it about twenty times over.

This book broke my heart. Its story rang so true to me, and after closing the book, I almost felt like crying in memory of all the amazing characters I had been taken on a journey with. It's not easy to create characters that readers will love, but it's a true talent to be able to write a story where every
Review copy from Netgalley

I had really been looking forward to reading this book after reading the review from Debbie Reese at American Indians in Children's Literature. Whenever she raves about a book, I know I will love it or at the very least find something that makes me think. I was not disappointed. It was everything I had hoped it would be and more. If I Ever Get Out of Here is a look into the life of a boy as he's coming of age. Like many young people, Lewis is searching for his identity.
Aurora Dimitre
Aug 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: yes, august-2015
I don't want to compare this to The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, because every single review compares the two. I'm pretty sure this is because that book is just about the only book with a Native American protagonist that almost anyone has ever read, but you know - there we go.

All of that aside, I did really enjoy this book. Part of it was the fact that this book takes place in the '70's - that not-quite-historical-fiction-yet is one of my favorite time periods for books to be set
Actual rating: 4.5 stars. It's 1975 and Lewis is a Tuscarora Indian living in poverty on the reservation. Being the only Indian on the "smart kids" track at the white school, Lewis is friendless and feels invisible. At the beginning of 8th grade, he vows to fit in and make a friend. Luckily for Lewis, this is the year George's Air Force officer father is transferred to the base in Lewis' town. George and Lewis become friends mainly due to their shared love of music - especially the Beatles and P ...more
I purchased this book for my library because I feel like there is a serious lack of Native American characters in YA books. Being a kid of the 70's who enjoys the Beatles and Queen, made this an easy pick for me. I liked the book. It was very informative and the character development is fantastic. I really felt like I knew all of the characters in the book very well. The only problem I have with the book is that I think it is too long and the pacing is fairly slow for a teen. The teens at my lib ...more
Jan 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Lewis Blake is a Tuscarora Indian living on a reservation near Buffalo, New York, in 1976. His family is very poor and he is the only Native kid in the advanced class at school, making him friendless and the target of a vicious bully. Things can for the better when a military kid, George, becomes his best friend. Music plays a big role in their lives, especially the Beatles and Queen, and the chapters are lyrics from their songs. Lewis fears George and his family will reject him and tells variou ...more
Sarah Mae
Apr 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-for-hugo
Lewis has a hard time making friends. It doesn't help that he's the only American Indian in the "smart kids" track. But that all changes when a new Air Force kid, George, shows up. They bond over The Beatles and other music but Lewis keeps him at arm's length. Can he really trust a white kid to be his friend?

Recommended for people who love Sherman Alexie.
Sep 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
A very good read, realistic in it's peek at Rez life. I found it sometimes funny sometimes sweet, sometimes heartbreaking and more often then not I found it bittersweet. I great look at the other side of the coin from the other side's viewpoint ...more
Jerry Jennings
I especially recommend the book: If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth for teachers, parents and young adults (12 to 17), and especially boys.

If I Ever Get Out of Here is a novel about Lewis, who is a Native American seventh grader who lives on a Native American reservation in New York state. The story takes place in the 1970s Lewis loves the Beatles and Paul McCarthy and he doesn't have any friends. He is in the academic advanced track at school and there are no other Indians in his clas
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
If I Ever Get Out of Here is a book club book. I listened to this book on audiobook, which made my two-hour daily commute more interesting. The audiobook is a little over 10 hours long given the length of the book. I appreciate the fact that this book is read and recorded by the author. He is able to read aloud the words in a fashion that is aligned to how he intended them to be read. The true emotions of the characters came out through Eric Gansworth’s reading. The author read with voice, which ...more
Laura La Rosa
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book follows a year and a half long journey of a seventh grader Lewis Blake as he navigates life at a predominately white school and life on the Tuscarora Native American Reservation in New York. Lewis is an avid Beatles fan, and the novel chapters and sections are all include titles from either Beatles songs or Paul McCartney songs which alternate for each chapter. Lewis' first person narration engulfs readers in his various challenges of living in poverty with a single mom, and Uncle Albe ...more
Katie F
Apr 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: diverse
This story showed the foundations of friendship as the main character Lewis struggles to balance his home life on the Tuscarora American Indian reservation with his school life. While a bright and gifted student, Lewis struggles to make friends. He forms a friendship with a new student- George- based on their common interest in music. “We started hanging out because he was friendly to me first. Living in the military, you don’t have time to fart around, spending years making friends” (pg. 33). T ...more
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book had a lot of stuff you don't see a lot in YA Fiction:
-It occurs in the 70's
-Native American characters
-Details about life on a reservation
-Characters in an active military family
-Friendships between cultures
-Lots of Beatles and Queen references
-Vietnam veterans

It was all great! There were parts that totally broke my heart and others made me laugh. I really appreciated seeing a window into life for an American Indian living on a reservation in this time period. It was so eye-opening to
Joyce Yattoni
Wow! There is so much packed into this story. Thoroughly enjoyed this one as it takes place 1976-1977 and the main character is the same age as I was in those years, so I can totally relate to the time period. My life was pretty “narrow” and at the time I was growing up I never knew of the continued mistreatment of Native Americans who were integrated into local schools if the schools were close to their reservations. Along with this integration came some pretty extreme hatred and bigotry from a ...more
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If I Ever Get Out of Here is the ode to late 70s rock music that I did not expect to love. It features a young middle school Native American student named Lewis, as he navigates his new middle school world, where for the first time there are no other kids from the rez on his advanced track. He deals with all the typical middle school struggles, making new friends, avoiding the local bullies, dealing with his family, all while struggling to maintain his identity and deal with the prejudice and di ...more
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book began a bit clumsily and I wasn't sure if I'd actually enjoy it, but all of a sudden I felt like it hit its stride and I couldn't put it down. I ended up loving the main character, Shoe (Lewis), and couldn't stop rooting for him. It dealt with bullying (and how both kids and adults deal with it) in one of the most authentic and true ways I've ever read in a book. The friendship between Shoe and George was incredibly uplifting and it was really fantastic to see a teen male friendship pr ...more
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Gansworth is an enrolled citizen of the Onondaga Nation; however, he grew up in the Tuscarora Nation as a descendant of one of two Onondaga women present among the Tuscarora at the foundation of the nation in the 18th century. Gansworth originally qualified in electroencephalography, considered a profession useful to his nation; however, he went on to study literature and to continue a lifelong in ...more

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