Book reviews #9: 250 hours by Colleen Nelson

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( 250 hours by Colleen Nelson, Publisher: Coteau Books)

Jess and Sara Jean couldn’t be more different. He’s a loner with a criminal record; a Metis raised on the Reserve; the son of a residential school survivor. His time, when not spent with his mother and grandmother, is spent lighting fires to help him deal with the feelings he has over his father’s abandonment. She’s from nearby Edelburg, a small, conservative town. Abandoned by her mother, Sara Jean cares for her obese grandmother and writes to escape. She has been accepted to the University of Manitoba, but her obligation to her grandmother leaves her wondering what her future will hold: a life in Edelburg with her boyfriend and grandmother, or an adventure in a big city where she can escape her past and pursue her passion for writing.

When Jess is found guilty of arson after lighting an abandoned building on fire, he’s ordered to complete 250 hours of community service. His first assignment? Cleaning out Sara Jean’s neglected garage. Sorting through boxes left by her grandfather, they discover that the secrets keeping their communities apart are the very things that may well bring them together. 

A riveting bi-racial story about family love, loss, and standing up for what you believe in. 

250 hours

Hello book dragons!

Today I am talking to you about a book quite different from what I usually read: 250 hours. A contemporary novel that will bring you to think again about what you know of Canadian history and its repercussions on Native lives.

We meet Sara Jean, young Canadian from a small town where it is the « rule » to get married at 18 with one of your neighbours and raise your children where yourself grew. She has to face a choice: stay there to take care of her very ill grandma, or leave and take the life she wants by studying in the closest big city. Her boyfriend knows what he wants for her for sure.
But everything changes when she meets Jess, who comes to her house to do community service after being arrested for arson. Together, they will discover truths that were hidden, about what happened to the past generations of Natives. How they were treated and how people still close their eyes on what they endured.
Both Sara Jean and Jess will grow through the pages, and will decide which turn they want their life to take.

I loved the way Colleen Nelson introduces her characters and her story. Her writing places you with them, in this hot summer, struggling through adulthood. It was captivating and ringing so true.
The most important part, also very well brought, is the discussion on what happened in the residential « schools » where Natives were taken, against their will, breaking their bonds with their family and their culture. I was lucky enough to be introduced to the matter, and to learn about it, but way too many people ignore it and the repercussions of this forced conversion on Natives today.

If you have any interests at all in Canadian history, in what happened to all these people taken away from their home, read this book!

See you for a cup 😉


This book was part of the Emporium book box of July. This box focuses on presenting you Canadian products, including a book. Parts of the benefits go to Room to read.  Room to Read supports children’s education in third-world countries. You can read more about our subscription boxes HERE. You can use my rep code ELISE10 for 10% off upon ordering 😉

4 réflexions sur “Book reviews #9: 250 hours by Colleen Nelson

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