Two Princes by Maggie Blackbird :: REVIEW :: Book Blog Tour ::
Title: Two Princes
Series: When we were young #2
Author: Maggie Blackbird
Publisher: Devine Destinies
Published: 12 June 2020
Cover Design: Martine Jardin
Length: 67,345 words/ 235 pages
Keywords : Young Adult, multicultural, contemporary, LGBT romance, Friends to lovers, Coming of age, No sexual content – only kissing
Add To: Goodreads
To win over the chief’s haughty son, a drug-dealing punk from a dysfunctional family must risk the only two things he has: his reputation and freedom.
Billy Redsky, a rebellious punk who loves art and nature, is saddled with a welfare-leeching, alcoholic mother and criminal older brother who are the joke of their Ojibway community. Sick and tired of being perceived as a loser, Billy deals drugs for his older brother to earn quick money. He hopes if he buys a dirt bike, he’ll finally impress the chief’s popular and aloof son, René Oshawee.
When the two are forced to serve detention together, a friendship blooms, but much to Billy’s frustration, René keeps putting him on ice. To make his biggest dream come true if he finally wants to call René his own, Billy must make a huge decision that could cost him everything.
The story is based on a indigenous reservation and the surrounding nature. The world is very immersive and brought to life by the main character Billy Redsky his foster family.
We start with Billy a 16-year-old, who through no fault of his own is forced to sell drugs to his school mates or face severe kick ins by his elder brother. His mother a a drunk and is either out with her latest boyfriend or laid up in a drunken stupor. Billy survives on the money his brother gives him for selling the drugs, to feed himself. Worst of all is he carries his family name Redsky aka the lowest of the low on the reservation.
René Oshawee is the son of the reservations Chief, and on the outside, he is the coolest dude in school, all the girls adore him, and the guys admire him. But Rene has his own problems, he is struggling with his bisexuality and the expectations his father has of him.
We follow the two teenagers as they Slowly build a friendship, Billy wants to be more then friends with Rene. He has done for a long while. Rene seems to care for Billy and kind of takes him under his wing. But also sends mixed message that keep Billy second guessing.
The story deals with a lot of issues that Teenagers go through, from a drunken parent and a abusive brother to sexuality and parents and peer expectations and pressure.
Though there are many tough issues dealt with, I was left feeling positive and hopeful.
The chemistry between the two guys is perfectly portrayed in the authors writing style, and you feel the love the characters have for each other.
Rene gave Billy hope and friendship when he needed it most, and in doing so allowed Billy a chance to be himself. And Billy gives Rene the courage to face his sexuality.
I also really like the relationship between Billy and his foster father, and we learn a little about the indigenous culture.
A thoroughly enjoyable read that is not only thought provoking, making you think about life in other people’s shoes but also leaves you smiling and hopeful,
Review Rating 5 Stars
At the same time, they entered the office doorway. Billy’s side received a sharp elbow jab, and his lungs almost hurled from his throat. Pain. Major pain.
René pointed at the chair. “Sit. I’m going first. Unlike you, I don’t got all day to be playing around.” He strode to the counter. “Is Mr. Carlson in? Mrs. Lamb sent me.” The attitude in his voice melted into an ass-kissing, respectful tone.
“What for?” The secretary, with a big beehive straight out of the sixties, stood.
René pointed his thumb over his shoulder. “Redsky got into my little cousin’s face. I have to talk to Mr. Carlson about it.”
“Okay. Let me buzz you in.” The swinging-sixties secretary reached for the phone.
Never mind his aching side. Billy scrambled from the chair. “I ain’t taking the rap for this. You started it, loser.”
René whipped around. “What’d you call me?”
“I called you a loser.” Billy fisted his hands.
“You worthless punk.” René held up his finger in a lecturing gesture just as the teachers did. “Wanna talk about losers? Your mom and brother are total alkies and welfare leeches. It’s people like your family who give reds a bad name. That’s why everyone hates on us and says we’re a bunch of drunks sucking the taxpayers dry.”
“Is that what Chief Oshawee says when you’re having your fancy steak supper? Or maybe your mom says it ‘cause she’s some bigshot accountant?” The jeer flew from Billy’s mouth.
“Give it a rest, boys.” Mr. Carlson’s thick voice whirled into their argument. “My secretary told me you both were sent here. René,” he pointed at the door, “into my office. And, Billy, sit down. We’ll talk once I hear René’s version.”
It figured Prince Oshawee would get to go first. At least Billy had been smart enough to pass off his stash to Lonn before being sent to the vice principal’s office.
For ten minutes, Billy waited, and waited, and waited, the second bell having already rung. René was probably painting a sham picture of Billy shoving dope down Stuart’s throat.
The door to the vice principal’s office opened. René huffed out. He shook back his shoulder-length, thick, almost-black hair and trounced from the reception area into the main hall.
Instead of raw fury searing Billy, being ignored by the royal spare was sharp teeth sinking into his skin. Big deal. He didn’t give a shit about anyone or their opinion. Especially an Oshawee.
“Billy…” Mr. Carlson and his big gut filled the doorway. “In here. Now.”
Billy slunk into the office and flopped in the usual stiffer-than-a-board chair opposite the massive oak desk. He dropped his backpack and his frustration onto the floor. There was no point in arguing. Chrome Dome would believe an Oshawee over a Redsky.
Mr. Carlson sat on his king-style throne. “Fighting again?”
What could Billy say? Nothing.
“I didn’t think so.” Mr. Carlson picked up the phone and flipped through his Rolodex. “I have business to attend to. You’ll report to room two-o-two after school. We have a new strategy when it comes to physical disputes. You’ll find out then when you get there. Dismissed.”
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An Ojibway from Northwestern Ontario, Maggie resides in the country with her husband and their fur babies, two beautiful Alaskan Malamutes. When she’s not writing, she can be found pulling weeds in the flower beds, mowing the huge lawn, walking the Mals deep in the bush, teeing up a ball at the golf course, fishing in the boat for walleye, or sitting on the deck at her sister’s house, making more wonderful memories with the people she loves most.