This one is shaping up to be a heavy favorite for the Michael L. Printz Award and could snag some recognition from Newbery since Newbery considers books for up to age 14.
Alexie has admitted that the book has autobiographical elements. It tells the story of one life-changing year in the protagonist's life, when he decides to leave the reservation to go to the white high school in a nearby town. As events unfold, the story goes back and forth from hilarity to heartbreak over and over, leaving the reader rather emotionally exhausted at the end. But the story shows what generational poverty is like and the kind of effort and personality that is required to transcend such poverty. It's very moving.