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264 Pages • 8.25" x 5.5"

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Ages: Teen

Reading Levels

Grade: 9-up

Guided Reading Level: Z+

The Way It Is

by: Donalda Reid
It may be the '60s - the era of equal rights and free love - but two teens find that change is slow in coming to their small town...
To Ellen Manery, a brilliant, introverted, socially isolated fifteen-year-old, there is nothing good about the summer of 1967, especially when her parents decide to move to a small town in the interior of British Columbia. None of the big ideas of the decade – the civil rights movement, the sexual revolution, women’s rights – have had much of an effect on this small community.

Ellen has always been more interested in studying than a social life, but that begins to change when she meets Tony Paul, an eighteen-year-old who is a Shuswap Indian and lives on the nearby reserve. It is Tony’s friendship that gives Ellen the strength to endure the loneliness, discrimination, and sexism she faces during her last year in high school. But as their friendship turns into something deeper, they must decide if they can break free of the small minds around them and forge their own future.


Finalist for the Forest of Reading's White Pine Award (Fiction) 


"Donalda Reid shows Tony and Ellen's friendship as one of equals who respect each other. The open ending shows them stronger than when they met, able to face the changing times and pursue their dreams." - CM Magazine: Canadian Review of Materials

"The novel is eye-opening and insightful, especially for readers who may be unfamiliar with the history of Canadian Indians (or Native Americans in general). The dynamic between Tony and Ellen is great; they get to know each other in a way that is sweet and realistic. Neither of them are made to appear as victims; both encounter sexism and racism, but they face it and stand up to their beliefs." - Things She Read blog

"Well-researched and well-written ... This delightful book would be fun background reading for any social-science course. Plot analysis and thematic development are also strong features of this novel." - Resource Links

"The Way It Is isn't just another book about racial discrimination. Donalda Reid makes it relatable; she doesn't just point out facts, she makes the reader live them." - Elevate Difference

"Ellen and Tony, supportive of each other, succeed not because it makes a good ending, but because, as the novel develops, we see them mature and earn their places in a time when this achievement would have been very difficult for both a young woman and a young man who was Indian." - Deakin Memorial Collection of Children's Literature Newsletter

"Vivid descriptions enabled the characters to come alive from the pages, as well as the woods surrounding the resort run by Ellen's family. The writing is solid, the plot is smooth and the message is unmistakable, though it never ventures toward reading like a tract or a history textbook." - Bookish In A Box blog


Reading Levels

Grade: 9-up

Guided Reading Level: Z+

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