Thirty Eight

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GENRE: Young Adult/Native American Fiction, suitable for 13+


Viviana lived a quiet life in the city, studying and doing everything possible to ensure she was accepted into a good college. She never thought much about who she was or where she came from but all of that will change when her father dies in the line of duty and she is asked to do something she never thought imaginable, participate in the annual Dakota 38 + 2 Ride. It was something that absolutely terrified her but with the encouragement of her uncle and the guidance of her new friends, Dre and Hope, she will discover something within her she never knew existed. She will learn that culture and tradition live within one's heart and cannot be easily forgotten. Our spirit remembers our ancestors and beckons us to them, even if we are reluctant to go. Thirty Eight is a story of acceptance and love while finding one's way back home.

Excerpt from THIRTY EIGHT by Tawa Witko & Deanna Milda 

Chapter 1

The school was bristling with activity. Everywhere one looked you could find streamers and flags, balloons and festive decorations lining the long halls. Every nook and cranny seemed to be bursting at the seams with the blue and silver of Centennial High School. Finals week was upon the students, soon summer would be approaching, along with the parties and excitement of life in the city. All seemed ecstatic to start, all but one.

Viviana passed some of her friends, lost in a daze of memories and sadness. It had been nearly seven months since her father passed away and she couldn't seem to get her life back on track. She continued to excel in school, it was nearly impossible for her not to, but her heart was not in it. How could she be expected to know important dates in European History when her heart was breaking? It simply wasn't manageable.

"Viv, wait up," Steffi shouted as she ran up to her.

"Hey Steffi," she greeted her friend with little inflection of happiness in her tone.

"Viv, come with us this weekend. There's a party at Chase's house and I know for a fact that Dylan is going to be there."

Viviana let out an exaggerated noise of discomfort. "I don't care if Dylan is there."

"Seriously, Viv, he's the hottest guy at school and everyone says he's totally into you." Viviana shot her a disparaging look but that didn't stop Steffi. It never did. "Look, I know you miss your dad and all but I'm sure he doesn't want you moping around. He'd want you to be out living your life."

"This isn't about my dad," Viviana lied.

Steffi stopped her by tugging on her arm. "I know you're lying."

Viviana closed her eyes momentarily. She didn't want to have this conversation right now. Truthfully, not ever, but especially not now when she was about to take her final exam for her advanced literature class.

"I don't blame you, Viv. If I lost my dad I'd be a mess but you always said that your dad wanted you to experience life to the fullest, that he wanted you to have everything."

"I don't think that he meant 'the hottest guy in school'," Viviana muttered, looking to the ground.

"Well, maybe not," Steffi laughed. "But seriously, you need to get out. We haven't done anything together in ages."

"I know," she said before looking at her friend. "I'll think about the party. I gotta go, though. I have a final right now."

"I'm calling you later."

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