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The Brave

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Perfect for fans of Rain Reign, this middle-grade novel The Brave is about a boy with an OCD issue and his move to a reservation to live with his biological mother. Collin can't help himself—he has a unique condition that finds him counting every letter spoken to him. It's a quirk that makes him a prime target for bullies, and a continual frustration to the adults around hi Perfect for fans of Rain Reign, this middle-grade novel The Brave is about a boy with an OCD issue and his move to a reservation to live with his biological mother. Collin can't help himself—he has a unique condition that finds him counting every letter spoken to him. It's a quirk that makes him a prime target for bullies, and a continual frustration to the adults around him, including his father. When Collin asked to leave yet another school, his dad decides to send him to live in Minnesota with the mother he's never met. She is Ojibwe, and lives on a reservation. Collin arrives in Duluth with his loyal dog, Seven, and quickly finds his mom and his new home to be warm, welcoming, and accepting of his condition. Collin’s quirk is matched by that of his neighbor, Orenda, girl who lives mostly in her treehouse and believes she is turning into a butterfly. With Orenda’s help, Collin works hard to overcome his challenges. His real test comes when he must step up for his new friend and trust his new family.


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Perfect for fans of Rain Reign, this middle-grade novel The Brave is about a boy with an OCD issue and his move to a reservation to live with his biological mother. Collin can't help himself—he has a unique condition that finds him counting every letter spoken to him. It's a quirk that makes him a prime target for bullies, and a continual frustration to the adults around hi Perfect for fans of Rain Reign, this middle-grade novel The Brave is about a boy with an OCD issue and his move to a reservation to live with his biological mother. Collin can't help himself—he has a unique condition that finds him counting every letter spoken to him. It's a quirk that makes him a prime target for bullies, and a continual frustration to the adults around him, including his father. When Collin asked to leave yet another school, his dad decides to send him to live in Minnesota with the mother he's never met. She is Ojibwe, and lives on a reservation. Collin arrives in Duluth with his loyal dog, Seven, and quickly finds his mom and his new home to be warm, welcoming, and accepting of his condition. Collin’s quirk is matched by that of his neighbor, Orenda, girl who lives mostly in her treehouse and believes she is turning into a butterfly. With Orenda’s help, Collin works hard to overcome his challenges. His real test comes when he must step up for his new friend and trust his new family.

30 review for The Brave

  1. 4 out of 5

    Adriana Mather

    Full disclosure - I’m married to the author. And even though I’m a writer myself, he wouldn’t let me read it until it was completely edited. Seriously. He let my mom read it, but he refused to send it to me. And then he did. Then he sent me the most beautiful book that not only swept me off my feet but made me cry happy tears (multiple times!!!). I fell for this book. I keep telling people it’s a magical realism My Girl, but it’s so much more than that. It has all the heartwarming feels and vibr Full disclosure - I’m married to the author. And even though I’m a writer myself, he wouldn’t let me read it until it was completely edited. Seriously. He let my mom read it, but he refused to send it to me. And then he did. Then he sent me the most beautiful book that not only swept me off my feet but made me cry happy tears (multiple times!!!). I fell for this book. I keep telling people it’s a magical realism My Girl, but it’s so much more than that. It has all the heartwarming feels and vibrantly funny characters. What are the chances that my own husband would write a book that would blow me away? I don’t know. But he did.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    This is a middle grade that is Realistic Fiction has some Magical Realism and Mental Health. We follow Collin that has a mental issues that makes him count the words people say and say the number of words people/he says out loud. He has been raise by his father up until this book starts. He moves in with his mother shortly after the book starts, and he has never see his mother since he was a baby until now. His mother is Obijabwe American Indian. This story is so moving, and I loved this book. T This is a middle grade that is Realistic Fiction has some Magical Realism and Mental Health. We follow Collin that has a mental issues that makes him count the words people say and say the number of words people/he says out loud. He has been raise by his father up until this book starts. He moves in with his mother shortly after the book starts, and he has never see his mother since he was a baby until now. His mother is Obijabwe American Indian. This story is so moving, and I loved this book. There was some parts of this book I did not think needed to be there, but this book was so good. I loved the magical realism parts of this book. I listen to the audiobook of this book, and the narrator brought this book to life. I was kindly provided an e-audiobook of this book by the publisher (Dreamscape Media) or author (James Bird) via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review about how I feel about this book, and I want to send a big Thank you to them for that. (*)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sheena

    Collin has an OCD tendency of counting letters when people speak and replying with the number of letters that were spoken to him. He has trouble fitting in at school, is bullied, and lives with an alcoholic father who could careless about him. Collin’s father sends him to live with his Ojibwe mother in Minnesota. He’s never met her before but learns of his culture and family. His relationship with his new family and Orenda were heartwarming and sweet. Collin is a sweet child and you feel for him Collin has an OCD tendency of counting letters when people speak and replying with the number of letters that were spoken to him. He has trouble fitting in at school, is bullied, and lives with an alcoholic father who could careless about him. Collin’s father sends him to live with his Ojibwe mother in Minnesota. He’s never met her before but learns of his culture and family. His relationship with his new family and Orenda were heartwarming and sweet. Collin is a sweet child and you feel for him and his pain. You cant help but to root for him so he can find his happiness. As much as I enjoyed this story, there were a few things preventing it from a five stars rating for me. I found it hard to believe for Collin to immediately be drawn to his mother and getting along with her after going 13 years of never meeting her. I found that a little unrealistic and he didn’t question this much. Same with his mother, she was immediately motherly and telling him to call her “mama” and they didn’t really explain this much. I also thought the representation of OCD was great but after a ritual it was supposedly gone so I’m not so sure how I felt about that either. Overall, I did really enjoy this book and would recommend it to any age. Thank you to Netgalley and to Dreamscape Media for sending me an audiobook!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Eileen

    An absolutely beautiful 5 stars! This was an unexpectedly beautiful book about a boy who has been isolated from his mother's Obijabwe heritage for his whole life and has struggled in the Western world (Huntington Beach, CA) with his father, primarily because of an OCD issue that causes him to count the letters in every spoken sentence addressed to him. Besides his OCD issue he is also artistic, and not the sports athlete that his father always wanted. After he is kicked out of his nth school for An absolutely beautiful 5 stars! This was an unexpectedly beautiful book about a boy who has been isolated from his mother's Obijabwe heritage for his whole life and has struggled in the Western world (Huntington Beach, CA) with his father, primarily because of an OCD issue that causes him to count the letters in every spoken sentence addressed to him. Besides his OCD issue he is also artistic, and not the sports athlete that his father always wanted. After he is kicked out of his nth school for being a disruptive influence (argh!), his father sends him to live with his mother, of whom he knows nothing, not even her name. Besides his OCD, this book explores the intersection of the Western worldview vs. the Native American worldview as well as the role nature has in our lives. This was a wonderful coming-of-age story for a boy who lives in fear, but learns to be brave with the help of his mother's greater family, especially his next door neighbor. Besides his OCD, this book covers issues of life and death, reality vs. magic, being brave vs. being afraid, bullying (there's a brilliant scene when he stands up for himself and the teacher is supportive of it), family and freedom with sensitivity and skill. The book even touches on LGTBQ but only peripherally and in a supportive way. I was absolutely touched by his beautiful writing and I found myself bawling in several places. As sad as I was, the view of life and death by the Native Americans had me filled with beauty and hope. There is one possible violent scene with a wolf that might be a bit tough for young/sensitive readers to handle, otherwise this book is very appropriate for Middle School readers. Thanks to #JamesBird, #NetGalley, and #MacMillianChildrensPublishingGroup for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    This is a middle grade that looks so good. I am lucky to receive an e-audiobook of this book from Netgalley, and I will post a honest review of this book as soon as I finish listening it. Note: I will be listening to this book during Believathon III in November.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Mather

    I read an early version of this book. It was beautiful and lyrical. Bird is a master storyteller who has written a number of screenplays, four of which have been made into Indie films. In this, his first published book, he examines the intersect between Native cultural beliefs and Western beliefs and their opposing worldviews. This is done from the POV of a boy who grew up with his white father who finds himself reunited with his Native mother. His experiences with Native culture lead him to bas I read an early version of this book. It was beautiful and lyrical. Bird is a master storyteller who has written a number of screenplays, four of which have been made into Indie films. In this, his first published book, he examines the intersect between Native cultural beliefs and Western beliefs and their opposing worldviews. This is done from the POV of a boy who grew up with his white father who finds himself reunited with his Native mother. His experiences with Native culture lead him to basic existential questions like; what is real? How do we know? This beautiful story will both break your heart and remake it anew.

  7. 5 out of 5

    TheMatchedSlytherin

    I was given this book as part of an ARC tour by the author('s) family to help promote and to given an honest review! First and foremost I want to thank James for writing this book, there are hardly words to express how beautiful of a story this was. I love that the MC was different and I wanna say quirky (as I am too I wear that term as a badge of honor) it made him so relateable cause who of us ever really fit in all the time. The amount of growth that Colin goes through it paced well and makes I was given this book as part of an ARC tour by the author('s) family to help promote and to given an honest review! First and foremost I want to thank James for writing this book, there are hardly words to express how beautiful of a story this was. I love that the MC was different and I wanna say quirky (as I am too I wear that term as a badge of honor) it made him so relateable cause who of us ever really fit in all the time. The amount of growth that Colin goes through it paced well and makes him almost as if he was a real person that you can't help but root for! The words of this story painted a picture that made it seem as if you where there and were able to go on this journey of self discovery and growth. I will also never ever look at a butterfly or squirrel or stick ever the same again! Thank you for the reminder that not everything is what it seems and the world is still so full of everyday magic and beauty! Thank you again James for writing this and sharing it with the world! Mandi

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karen Kane

    Collin is such a wonderful little man, his only issue is that no one would accept him for who he was. Not his father, not his school, no adult or child around him. Not until his mother came back into his life. Then happiness flooded his life like he never knew. He found love, true love, happiness, acceptance, the bullies couldn't hurt him. Even teachers accepted him. It was about finding your wings and as the book say being BRAVE. He also found heartache and anguish. Losing his true love so soon. Collin is such a wonderful little man, his only issue is that no one would accept him for who he was. Not his father, not his school, no adult or child around him. Not until his mother came back into his life. Then happiness flooded his life like he never knew. He found love, true love, happiness, acceptance, the bullies couldn't hurt him. Even teachers accepted him. It was about finding your wings and as the book say being BRAVE. He also found heartache and anguish. Losing his true love so soon. She found her wings and became a butterfly. I know her sentiment. I too picked out my wings but never truly transformed. Instead of having them on my back I found a place on my chest to hold them. I hold my wings on my chest for all to see proudly if they look close enough but I am a butterfly, like Orenda, like a good dear friend told me. Collin is brave and strong even from the start. There was nothing ever wrong with him. He just had to find the right people that would accept him for who he was. Who he is. Which was perfect in every way shape and form. 1,063

  9. 5 out of 5

    Geraldine (geraldinereads)

    Collin has an OCD tendency of counting letters when people speak and replying with the number of letters that were spoken. When he gets in trouble at his school and is asked to leave yet another school, his father decides to send him to live in Minnesota with his mother. Collin has never met his mother before who is Ojibwe and lives on a reservation. While staying with his mother, Collin meets his new neighbor, Orenda who opens his eyes to a whole new world. I loved Collin's relationship with Ore Collin has an OCD tendency of counting letters when people speak and replying with the number of letters that were spoken. When he gets in trouble at his school and is asked to leave yet another school, his father decides to send him to live in Minnesota with his mother. Collin has never met his mother before who is Ojibwe and lives on a reservation. While staying with his mother, Collin meets his new neighbor, Orenda who opens his eyes to a whole new world. I loved Collin's relationship with Orenda and his mother, both relationships were so sweet and heartwarming. At times, this book really gets you all in the feels so beware of the tears! There is also magical realism in the book which I usually hate BUT this is one of the rare books I loved that has a good amount of it. The writing was also beautiful and the pacing of the book was perfectly done. Honestly WOW! This is probably my favorite middle grade book I've ever read, it definitely reads more like a YA book though. It's a book that everyone from kids to adults can read and enjoy so don't think you're too old to read it! I highly recommend buying it if you can!!! The author is Ojibwe just like some of the characters he writes about in this book so let's support more books that are #ownvoices #indigenousvoices ❤️

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tia Nicole

    Wow. I don’t know where to start with this book aside from those first three letters. Collin is different from everyone he knows. He counts letters in the words people say. The struggle of finding yourself in a world where people laugh is a hard thing to do. When Collin’s dad sends him to live with his mom, he thinks it’s going to be the same thing there. But as soon as he arrives, Collin is embraced by acceptance from his mother and the neighbors around them. School is still hard, but when isn’t Wow. I don’t know where to start with this book aside from those first three letters. Collin is different from everyone he knows. He counts letters in the words people say. The struggle of finding yourself in a world where people laugh is a hard thing to do. When Collin’s dad sends him to live with his mom, he thinks it’s going to be the same thing there. But as soon as he arrives, Collin is embraced by acceptance from his mother and the neighbors around them. School is still hard, but when isn’t it? Collin works so hard to find himself, but what do you do when finding yourself means losing others? James Bird crafted and weaved a story so beautiful and loving. The amount of love that is poured onto these pages is evident from the very beginning. This book is more than just a story of finding yourself, but finding the acceptance along the way. Thank you for writing this and for putting it out for all the world to read. I hope that you take the time to read this book, to grow with Collin, to cry with him and to love yourself the way that you are. Being brave isn’t being fearless, it’s about being afraid and still fighting for more.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Felecia

    This middle grade book is a heartwarming and beautiful tale for readers of all ages. My 12 year old and I both agree. The Brave is the debut novel from filmmaker James Bird. The main character, Collin, is someone that we can all relate to. The journey he takes us on & the lessons we learn along with him are priceless. In a world where you can be anything, be brave. 💕💕💕 **thank you to the author for sending me an advanced copy*** This middle grade book is a heartwarming and beautiful tale for readers of all ages. My 12 year old and I both agree. The Brave is the debut novel from filmmaker James Bird. The main character, Collin, is someone that we can all relate to. The journey he takes us on & the lessons we learn along with him are priceless. In a world where you can be anything, be brave. 💕💕💕 **thank you to the author for sending me an advanced copy***

  12. 5 out of 5

    Aly

    This is an interesting read. We learn about some Native American beliefs and traditions which was cool. The story also talks about OCD and processing death and is slightly heavy for a middle grade read. However, there were some supernatural elements in this that tempered the big themes and made them more accessible, if unrealistic. Collin counts the letters of the words people say and must say the total out loud. This has caused bullying and Collin's father can't handle the moving schools and fi This is an interesting read. We learn about some Native American beliefs and traditions which was cool. The story also talks about OCD and processing death and is slightly heavy for a middle grade read. However, there were some supernatural elements in this that tempered the big themes and made them more accessible, if unrealistic. Collin counts the letters of the words people say and must say the total out loud. This has caused bullying and Collin's father can't handle the moving schools and fights any more, so he's sent to live with his estranged mother on a reservation. Collin immediately becomes friends with the girl next door and becomes happier. I loved his friendship/sort of romance with Orenda. She's sweet and smart and pushes Collin to go out of his comfort zone and confront his fears. Orenda is brave and her turning into a butterfly was sweet. I didn't like how OCD was dealt with, it wasn't really treated properly and instead Collin makes progress through a dream where he fights a monster? I didn't understand the logic of that. There were some supernatural bits that I understand are part of the Native American culture but they seemed a bit out of place to me. Collin's evolution made for a nice read and the family and friendship bonds were well written. The narrator for the audiobook did a great job and this kept me entertained. I received a copy of this audiobook from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

  13. 4 out of 5

    Samantha (WLABB)

    I found Collin's journey so touching. Before, he was living in California with his ill-equipped father and had little support. He was relentlessly singled out for his neurodiversity and considered himself "broken". The best thing to happen to Collin was being sent to live with the mother he never knew. She brought him into a whole new way of thinking and seeing the world. She lavished him with love and lessons, like a mother should, and I absolutely adored her. There, on the reservation, Collin I found Collin's journey so touching. Before, he was living in California with his ill-equipped father and had little support. He was relentlessly singled out for his neurodiversity and considered himself "broken". The best thing to happen to Collin was being sent to live with the mother he never knew. She brought him into a whole new way of thinking and seeing the world. She lavished him with love and lessons, like a mother should, and I absolutely adored her. There, on the reservation, Collin had a great support system. Mom, Orenda, Foxy, Grandma, Ronnie -- they were all spectacular and I felt the warmth and love they exuded. I shed a lot of tears as I read this book, but I also found myself very proud of Collin as he embraced his new surroundings and worked to be a better version of himself. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Silva-Kubarek

    After spending 13 years on this earth bullied and unwanted, Collin finds the love and magic that he didn’t believe existed. If you are struggling to find your place in this world, read this book. If you are struggling to see the beauty of the world, read this book. If you are struggling to see the magic of the world, read this book. If you need a good cry, read this book. If you are in need of an adventure, read this book. If you feel alone, unloved, or misunderstood, then this is the book for y After spending 13 years on this earth bullied and unwanted, Collin finds the love and magic that he didn’t believe existed. If you are struggling to find your place in this world, read this book. If you are struggling to see the beauty of the world, read this book. If you are struggling to see the magic of the world, read this book. If you need a good cry, read this book. If you are in need of an adventure, read this book. If you feel alone, unloved, or misunderstood, then this is the book for you. This book made me feel every emotion. This book taught me a different way to view life. This story taught me to find the magic in ordinary, every day objects. This book is pure magic. “When times get bad, don’t get sad-get mad”

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jylian

    To start, this book is hands down the most beautiful one I have read. It takes your breathe away and fills you with so many raw emotions, beautiful scenes, and pure love. James has such a talent for creating each character with their own unique personalities that you can easily fall in love with. This book is full of emotions, but in the best, most beautiful way possible. I can not wait for the world to be able to read this book and feel everything I did reading this masterpiece. To the next rea To start, this book is hands down the most beautiful one I have read. It takes your breathe away and fills you with so many raw emotions, beautiful scenes, and pure love. James has such a talent for creating each character with their own unique personalities that you can easily fall in love with. This book is full of emotions, but in the best, most beautiful way possible. I can not wait for the world to be able to read this book and feel everything I did reading this masterpiece. To the next reader, I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Salcido

    This novel is so incredibly beautiful. A moving, and stunning piece of literature that has so much heart. I was so impressed with how relatable this piece of work is to all audiences. It is great for all ages! I hope they make this into a film. Thank you James Bird for writing this amazing novel and pouring your heart and soul on the page. I can’t wait to read it to my son.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kristina Modena

    Where to begin! I had no idea what to expect while reading this book but it definitely surpassed any expectations I would have had. It's beautifully written and a very touching story that everyone can enjoy. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, but most of all it will make you embrace and appreciate what makes you, you. Fabulous book! Highly recommend!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Solly

    Ugh. I'm so upset! I genuinely enjoyed so much of this book, especially the first half. And the first half set up things to be a light-hearted 'learn to love yourself even if you're different' narrative and then it just. Ugh. First, it turned sad, which I didn't expect and wasn't in the mood for, but that's not the book's fault. HOWEVER, I will never stop being mad that the whole beginning of the book sets up an acceptance narrative with stuff like "you're not broken" and "you don't need to be f Ugh. I'm so upset! I genuinely enjoyed so much of this book, especially the first half. And the first half set up things to be a light-hearted 'learn to love yourself even if you're different' narrative and then it just. Ugh. First, it turned sad, which I didn't expect and wasn't in the mood for, but that's not the book's fault. HOWEVER, I will never stop being mad that the whole beginning of the book sets up an acceptance narrative with stuff like "you're not broken" and "you don't need to be fixed" and stuff to end up with a magical cure to Collin's OCD. Three stars only because Collin was an awesome protagonist and I loved the beginning, but honestly the magical cure to MC's mental illness/neurodiversity/disability trope always makes me feel heavy and wrong after finishing a book. It just affects me A LOT, and I kind of started to expect it about 2/3 in the book but I really wished it hadn't gone down that road. Also would love to read reviews from disabled people on Orenda's disability because I wasn't sure what to think of that rep. EDIT: I'm taking down another star because I thought about other stuff that bothered me *and* I was upset all evening yestersay after that ending and when I say upset I mean physical uneasy feeling of wrongness because of a trope in a book so I'd say it was almost a trigger. Anyway two other things that bothered me. There's a side character that barely says anything but the MC spends the whole time interacting with them trying to determine if they're a boy or a girl. Didn't sit right with me as a non-binary reader. HOWEVER, it's only one scene so it's not a huge deal. Other thing is very personal but like. There was so much love for the military in this book. In my head it's very American to have two side characters die in service and just be like "wow we can be proud they died for our country!!!" and then have on top of that a father figure in the military. I just. Really hate the military haha. So I was just like "oh yeah cute father-son dynamic now tell him your job is to kill people overseas how fun". I just have SUCH a hard time sympathizing with characters in the military if there isn't any in depth commentary on it in the book. Patriotism and pro-military rhethoric are WEIRD. Anyway yeah the more I think about it the more I find things to dislike but I did enjoy the first half of the book and Collin was a really good MC with a fun voice but. So many details I disliked and the ending ruined it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Marti

    The Brave by James Bird is a middle grade novel. The book is a glorious look at OCD (without even naming it) and learning to be brave facing fears. The poignant story allows you to recognize as Collin learns - what is truly is important… love, trust, bravery. The moral is it is okay to be afraid, but it is not okay to let afraid win. Collin lives with his dad and counts words. He is constantly being bullied and feels horrible by others daily. On top of that, he knows he is letting his father dow The Brave by James Bird is a middle grade novel. The book is a glorious look at OCD (without even naming it) and learning to be brave facing fears. The poignant story allows you to recognize as Collin learns - what is truly is important… love, trust, bravery. The moral is it is okay to be afraid, but it is not okay to let afraid win. Collin lives with his dad and counts words. He is constantly being bullied and feels horrible by others daily. On top of that, he knows he is letting his father down, but doesn’t know how to change anything. Until he is forced to move and live with his mother - someone he has never met - on a reservation with her people - The Ojibwe. The move while terrifying brings Collin to Orenda, someone else that isn’t ‘normal’. Together they move forward helping each other. The story is beautiful, staggeringly emotional, yet full of hope. This would be a wonderful read for a whole class while they are learning about the stages of a butterfly’s life or while they are learning about different cultures. The story is also about death, a very difficult subject but dealt with in a beautiful way (and yes I did sob). I do have to warn readers there is magical realism within the book, something I usually hate, but I sure ate it up in this novel. The Brave by James Bird is a special read that I would highly recommend to readers of all ages.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bridget Hodder

    This book! Do not miss it. You'll never look at the world the same way again.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I received an ARC of this book by the publisher. First, I must say that the cover art by Mallory Grigg is beautiful. I don't feel that I spend enough time looking at book covers and I usually just dive in and start reading with barely a glance. This is one of those books that you want to spend a little more time with after reading and what better way than examining the beautiful artwork. I knew I was going to love this book after reading the description. I enjoy character-driven stories and Collin I received an ARC of this book by the publisher. First, I must say that the cover art by Mallory Grigg is beautiful. I don't feel that I spend enough time looking at book covers and I usually just dive in and start reading with barely a glance. This is one of those books that you want to spend a little more time with after reading and what better way than examining the beautiful artwork. I knew I was going to love this book after reading the description. I enjoy character-driven stories and Collin was a character that I wanted to get to know. A boy who must count each letter that you speak to him and then relay that number to you against his will. His father a former football player who wants nothing more than to have a 'normal' son, an athletic son, a son who doesn't get bullied. The book starts with their relationship and Collin's troubles in school. I am in agony for Collin after the first chapter. His father has contacted his mother and will be sending Collin to live with her in Minnesota, on a reservation. Collin knows nothing of his mother, not even her name. Life in Minnesota is different. There is hope here for Collin, a fresh start, a mother, a grandmother, and a new friend, Orenda. Collin has much to learn as he puts aside Native American stereotypes and embraces this new family and new life. It takes courage. The kind of courage that only the brave can have. There are many brave people in this story and Collin learns that he is not alone. James Bird does a magnificent job of exposing people's bravery. Each person is fighting their own battle, and that is the message of The Brave. This book is one that stays with you for a while. Recommended for grades 5-8.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Marzie

    Debut author James Bird has written a lovely novel of magical realism in which Collin, a young man with OCD who counts letters when people speak to him, relocates from California (and his father) to Minnesota in order to live with his mother's family (a complicated family, at that) on the Ojibwe reservation near Duluth (presumably Fond du Lac). Luckily, his one support, his dog Seven (whose real name is Numbers, but well, that's 7 letters right there...) travels with him. For Collin, who has suf Debut author James Bird has written a lovely novel of magical realism in which Collin, a young man with OCD who counts letters when people speak to him, relocates from California (and his father) to Minnesota in order to live with his mother's family (a complicated family, at that) on the Ojibwe reservation near Duluth (presumably Fond du Lac). Luckily, his one support, his dog Seven (whose real name is Numbers, but well, that's 7 letters right there...) travels with him. For Collin, who has suffered from bullying for years and the feeling of continually disappointing his father and grandparents because of his OCD, life among the Ojibwe is a complete change. From the fact that there is far less speaking and more just doing, to the friendship he forms with Orenda, a girl who lives next door and who seems unfazed by his counting, Collin's home life is the most supportive he's ever had. (School, which isn't on the rez, is still a work in progress, however.) Collin is still confused about some things that go on around him. Like Orenda saying she's changing (how? into what?), and his grandmother keeps disappearing with Seven. Collin slowly starts to find a different side of life, and a different way of perceiving life, living with his Ojibwe family. Ultimately, he finds himself. This is a beautiful novel for middle grade and young adult readers. In fact, I have it on my list of nominees for the Lodestar Award. The audiobook, narrated by Shaun Taylor-Corbett, is beautifully read. I received a digital review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Abbie

    After looking at most of the other reviews for James Bird's debut novel, I fear I am in the minority. I always love magical realism, and the writing is beautiful in this book, but it just didn't land quite right for me. First, we are supposed to believe a kid who has been abandoned by every adult in his life has no abandonment issues? He's not angry at all with his mother who left him with a life of loneliness? Especially after he sees what he's been missing? I'm not buying it. Also, his OCD is After looking at most of the other reviews for James Bird's debut novel, I fear I am in the minority. I always love magical realism, and the writing is beautiful in this book, but it just didn't land quite right for me. First, we are supposed to believe a kid who has been abandoned by every adult in his life has no abandonment issues? He's not angry at all with his mother who left him with a life of loneliness? Especially after he sees what he's been missing? I'm not buying it. Also, his OCD is cured by a magical ceremony after he learns his lesson about self-acceptance. Umm...no, mental health is serious. I'm not saying immersing himself in the culture of the Ojibwe people wouldn't help, but therapy is important. To suggest otherwise is harmful to those with mental health disorders. I only found one review online from a native person, and he objected to Bird's portrayal of Ojibwe life. It all seemed a little too Magical Indian Experience to me, too. I know the author has Ojibwe ancestry. I would like to hear opinions from other native people. Finally, this last thing is not the biggest issue, but it was very jarring for me as a reader. As a person who grew up in peach country, there is no way there are peach trees laden with juicy succulent fruit in Minnesota in October. Was this supposed to be part of the magical realism? It just seemed like poor research to me. Unfortunately, I can't recommend this book. I was really hoping it would be good because there are so few Own Voices books from a native perspective, but it just isn't a success for me. Read more at Bookish Adventures.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Darla

    Collin counts letters. He is compelled to tell you how many letters are in every sentence that is directed to him. And he can do it quickly. He has to or those letters balloon up in his mind and start to suffocate him. As you can imagine, this compulsion singles him out for bullying. Collin's dad decides to send him to Minnesota to live with his mom on the Ojibwe reservation. One of the first people Collin meets is his next door neighbor Orenda. She captivates his heart and helps him learn life Collin counts letters. He is compelled to tell you how many letters are in every sentence that is directed to him. And he can do it quickly. He has to or those letters balloon up in his mind and start to suffocate him. As you can imagine, this compulsion singles him out for bullying. Collin's dad decides to send him to Minnesota to live with his mom on the Ojibwe reservation. One of the first people Collin meets is his next door neighbor Orenda. She captivates his heart and helps him learn life lessons. Not all is right with Orenda and her illness worsens in juxtaposition to the growth of Collin's strength in his new life. Full of magical realism and fascinating characters, this book will appeal to fans of John Green. Thank you to McMillan (Feiwel & Friends) and NetGalley for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    This striking, contemplative cover beckons you to journey alongside Collin and delve into his beautiful, restless mind. THE BRAVE (out now!) by James Bird packs an emotional punch as Collin, who is neurodiverse, searches for acceptance and the unconditional love that he so deserves. Thousands of miles now separate Collin from his troubled father as he is sent to live with his mother on an Indian reservation in Minnesota. Collin, who has never met his mother, has quite a bit to learn about himsel This striking, contemplative cover beckons you to journey alongside Collin and delve into his beautiful, restless mind. THE BRAVE (out now!) by James Bird packs an emotional punch as Collin, who is neurodiverse, searches for acceptance and the unconditional love that he so deserves. Thousands of miles now separate Collin from his troubled father as he is sent to live with his mother on an Indian reservation in Minnesota. Collin, who has never met his mother, has quite a bit to learn about himself, his family, and his Ojibwe heritage. I found Collin to be such a kind, gentle soul and stronger than he thought of himself. He must look deep within himself to overcome his fears and struggles and I was so glad he met Orenda, who is so much more than just “the girl next door” to help him. Their friendship is so pure and brings joy and laughter into both their lives. I also adored his lovely, patient mother and his eccentric and witty grandmother. @jamesbirdbooks writes exquisitely of Collin’s new family dynamic and his spiritual enlightenment while simultaneously navigating a new middle school. I found so much hope and love in THE BRAVE and admired its engaging themes of resiliency, courage, and strength.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Anita Ojeda

    Thirteen-year-old Collin Couch (pronounced like pooch, not the thing you sit on) has no friends (except his dog Seven), an alcoholic father, and gets kicked out of every school he attends. For the first time, he actually gets kicked out because he hit someone. Usually, he gets asked to leave because no one can handle his odd condition. When someone speaks to him, he compulsively counts the letters and must repeat them before he can answer. Kids make fun of him, teachers feel bewildered, and even Thirteen-year-old Collin Couch (pronounced like pooch, not the thing you sit on) has no friends (except his dog Seven), an alcoholic father, and gets kicked out of every school he attends. For the first time, he actually gets kicked out because he hit someone. Usually, he gets asked to leave because no one can handle his odd condition. When someone speaks to him, he compulsively counts the letters and must repeat them before he can answer. Kids make fun of him, teachers feel bewildered, and even counselors can’t seem to help. Collin’s father has had enough and decides to send him to live with his mother on the Ojibwe reservation in Minnesota. Collin doesn’t know how he feels to get sent to a place he’s never been with a woman he’s never met. But he’s pretty sure it can’t turn out any worse than his current life of isolation. Once he arrives in Minnesota, Collin struggles to understand ways of seeing and thinking that defy everything he grew up knowing. Along the way, the mysterious next-door neighbor girl, Orenda, helps him on his journey to becoming brave. Why I Loved this Book James Bird, a screenwriter and director of Ojibwe descent, Bird brings an own voices perspective to the problem that faces all of us—what to do with differences. Differences in race, religion, sexuality, health, socioeconomic status, skin color, personal preferences, learning styles, traditions, customs, and beliefs. His message (most of us fail dismally at handling differences, but we can’t change if we don’t try) brings a poignant message of hope to all of us. Collin’s experiences cause him to decide, “Maybe, just maybe, you’ll see how we’re all not so different from each other.” How would we treat each other if we came to the same conclusion? Although I’ve never used a book from the magical realism genre in my classes, I’ll be teaching this one in the fall. It makes the perfect companion to The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Students will relate to the duality of Collin’s life. Raised by a white father whose society rejected him and welcomed into his mother’s community where they teach him new ways of solving problems. The modern and the ancient. Likewise, my students struggle with the bling modern society offers and how to incorporate the wisdom of their ancestors in a world that labels them unkindly. To read a book written by a minority and see how the solutions come from a Native way of seeing and thinking will help my students understand the value of their traditions. For the rest of us, reading a book written by a minority and seeing how the solutions from a Native way of seeing and thinking will help us understand how much we have to learn from other cultures and traditions. This is one book that librarians, teachers, and parents will want to read, ponder, and discuss with students or their children. Warning, you will need tissues. Bird handles difficult topics with humor, sympathy, and grace.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Yolanda Perez

    Once I started reading this book, I was able to become familiar in so many ways. My imagination began to fly to my past in such a way that I couldn't let go of The Brave until I finished it! Lot’s of love, charisma, humility, and above all courage! Spread your wings, and start flying to the sound of life ! 🦋

  28. 4 out of 5

    Clinton Read

    THIS IS BY FAR MY FAVORITE BOOK I HAVE EVER READ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had the amazing opportunity to read this stunning debut from James Bird. This beautiful middle grade is about an Native American boy coming to terms with his disability and his Native American history. This is by far one of the most poignant and beautifully written stories I have ever read. This is def a book everyone needs to read! I just fell in love with the characters and the culture. I can honestly say the easiest 5 star I THIS IS BY FAR MY FAVORITE BOOK I HAVE EVER READ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had the amazing opportunity to read this stunning debut from James Bird. This beautiful middle grade is about an Native American boy coming to terms with his disability and his Native American history. This is by far one of the most poignant and beautifully written stories I have ever read. This is def a book everyone needs to read! I just fell in love with the characters and the culture. I can honestly say the easiest 5 star I have ever given before! Make sure you have tissues on hand because it will break and mend your heart all at once!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chad Lucas

    This book feels magical. It exists in that sweet spot where I didn't want to put it down but I also didn't want to reach the end and have to leave Collin's world. James Bird tackles some tough subjects with beauty and humour and a touch of the mystical. One of my favourite MG books of 2020 so far.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Danika Stone

    You NEED to read this book. First, because it’s incredible, but (equally importantly) because indigenous voices are sadly rare in middle grade fiction. James Bird’s novel, The Brave, introduces us to Colin, a young Ojibwe boy who struggles with OCD. Struggling in school, he is sent to the reservation to live with the biological mother he doesn’t even know. There, Colin finds a family and community who accepts the unique way that his brain works. He develops a friendship with Orenda, a medically- You NEED to read this book. First, because it’s incredible, but (equally importantly) because indigenous voices are sadly rare in middle grade fiction. James Bird’s novel, The Brave, introduces us to Colin, a young Ojibwe boy who struggles with OCD. Struggling in school, he is sent to the reservation to live with the biological mother he doesn’t even know. There, Colin finds a family and community who accepts the unique way that his brain works. He develops a friendship with Orenda, a medically-fragile girl with a unique perception on life who helps Colin to understand himself, even as she progressively grows weaker due to ALS. This books deals with bravery, with death, with who we are versus who the world tells us we are. It is magical realism at its finest! Beautifully written, with emotional depth, The Brave should be on everyone’s TBR.

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