I have to confess that I can't figure out why I liked this book so much as a twelve-year-old. Though the premise of the story is intriguing from a psychological perspective, the writing seems much more dry to me than I remember. I can see why the themes in the story - alienation, isolation, identity, and finding one's place - would be appealing to a middle school audience, and I'm sure this is why the book was assigned to begin with, but I don't see what would have made it stand out as such an interesting book to me personally. As an adult, I didn't really connect with the characters at all, and I found it a struggle to finish to the end.
From an educational perspective, this book does provide important details about the differences between the Indian way of life and the white way of life, and about the impact each culture had on the other during the early days of the United States. It is a logical choice to include in American History lessons for middle schoolers, as it provides an emotional way to connect with the subject matter. I think I like Elisa Carbone's Blood on the River slightly better, especially because its characters are based on real people, and the story provides a broader view of the time period, but this is a matter of personal preference more than a statement about the quality of either book.