Those Pink Mountain Nights
In her remarkable second novel following her acclaimed debut, The Summer of Bitter and Sweet, which won the Governor General’s Award and received six starred reviews, Jen Ferguson writes about the hurt of a life stuck in past tense, the hum of connections that cannot be severed, and one week in a small snowy town that changes everything.
Over-achievement isn’t a bad word—for Berlin, it’s the goal. She’s securing excellent grades, planning her future, and working a part-time job at Pink Mountain Pizza, a legendary local business. Who says she needs a best friend by her side?
Dropping out of high school wasn’t smart—but it was necessary for Cameron. Since his cousin Kiki’s disappearance, it’s hard enough to find the funny side of life, especially when the whole town has forgotten Kiki. To them, she’s just another missing Native girl.
People at school label Jessie a tease, a rich girl—and honestly, she’s both. But Jessie knows she contains multitudes. Maybe her new job crafting pizzas will give her the high-energy outlet she desperately wants.
When the weekend at Pink Mountain Pizza takes unexpected turns, all three teens will have to acknowledge the various ways they’ve been hurt—and how much they need each other to hold it all together.
The Heartdrum imprint centers a wide range of intertribal voices, visions, and stories while welcoming all young readers, with an emphasis on the present and future of Indian Country and on the strength of young Native heroes. In partnership with We Need Diverse Books.
Teaching and Reading Resources
This book is about a small-town independent pizza shop and the teens who run the place. They are going through a lot because teens go through a lot in their lives. Like pizza, this story can comfort and satisfy, but it’s also about a perfectionist with undiagnosed depression, a teen coping with trauma by laughing at everything, a teen living with the late effects of childhood cancer treatment in an abusive home, the fallout of a friendship breakup, and other intense real-to-life situations that teens face.
In this book, teens make mistakes and those mistakes hurt: specifically, there is an insidious anti-Blackness in Indigenous, POC, and otherly marginalized communities that exists, and one aspect of that is represented here.
As well, this book centers the traumas faced by Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people, and one narrative of the ongoing human rights crisis happening now in the colonial nations of Canada, the United States of America, and Mexico.
There is one animal death in these pages, but our characters help her pass well. The rest of the animals in this book are happy and healthy and thriving.
Take care of yourself while reading, first and foremost. If you’re not ready to read now, that’s okay because books are forever, and you matter more than books. This is truth, always, until time runs out and books are no more, so basically forever-ever.