Over the course of the novel, Junior matures and begins to realize that he must overcome obstacles to achieve his dreams. At the beginning of the novel, Junior introduces himself to the reader as an awkward teenager who is trapped in his life on the Spokane Indian Reservation. After witnessing elements of life that hold back other Indians on the reservation (i.e. alcoholism, domestic abuse, poverty), Junior changes and decides that he wants his life to be different. He is angry that the education on the reservation is not up to standard, so he decides to attend Reardan. This decision, however, isolates Junior from others, especially Rowdy, who see him as wanting to be "better than" the others around him. After his early days at Reardan, Junior questions whether or not he has made the right decision. By the end of the novel, Junior has matured and has resolved to continue pursuing his dreams. He has also learned the meaning of friendship and family, and even though he has lost important members of his family such as his grandmother and Mary, he reconnects with Rowdy.