The gripping story of an Ojibwe girl who risks all to go undercover and stop those trying to tear her community apart.
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Why I love it
I read a lot: for work and for pleasure, and when I pick up a new book I’m looking for an engrossing story that helps expand my cultural and literary horizons. Angeline Boulley’s young adult thriller Firekeeper’s Daughter, about a biracial Anishinaabe teen who confronts the darkest corners of her community in order to save it, ticks both those boxes.
Daunis Fontaine, a college freshman trying to reconcile both halves of her identity, is the hero of this story and a typical teen. She hangs out with her half-brother Levi’s hockey team, helps to look after the women in her family, crushes on a handsome new student, and supports her friends in their own love lives. But when an unspeakable tragedy occurs, her world is shattered. As Daunis struggles with the senseless violence that has made its way into her life, she takes on the harrowing task of working undercover with the FBI to discover the source of a dangerous new strain of meth on the local reservation and to help protect her community from further harm.
Firekeeper’s Daughter is a nail-biting thriller, but it’s also a vital testament to the everyday courage, humor, and resilience of Native women: in her author’s note, Boulley cites the heartbreaking fact that 84% of Native women experience violence in their lifetime. I tore through this book: I laughed, cried, stayed up too late finishing it, and I came out on the other side moved and inspired by Daunis and the fierce constellation of sisters, mothers, daughters, and ancestors who make up her community.
Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. She dreams of a fresh start at college, but when family tragedy strikes, Daunis puts her future on hold to look after her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team.
Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug.
Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, drawing on her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the source. But the search for truth is more complicated than Daunis imagined, exposing secrets and old scars. At the same time, she grows concerned with an investigation that seems more focused on punishing the offenders than protecting the victims.
Now, as the deceptions—and deaths—keep growing, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go for her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.
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This is one of if not the best book I’ve read in 2021. Daunis is an incredible narrator; her strengths & weaknesses made for relatable & important storytelling. Pls read this book ASAP! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
New York, NY
Couldn’t put this book down! Wonderful pacing and plot and thought provoking about what it means to belong to two worlds and the prejudices we inflict on each other. Can’t wait to read more by Boulley
Another great glimpse into a different culture, lovable and interesting characters, I love this one. I want to reread just for the beading and plant medicine details. It’s a mystery, and a romance.
Littleton , CO
I will admit that at times I didn’t like the narrators style of telling the story. However this book made me cry twice. I love the strong women, the community, the fierceness, the love in these pages.
Daunis’ deep introspective voice kept me fascinated. Non-traditional in so many ways, but determined to honor her traditions also. Her descriptions of the UPhad me looking up maps and planning vacays!
This book was anything but what I expected. The story started and gripped me right away as it traveled through a world that doesn’t get much light. Impactful and one I will be recommending to everyone
Loved this & couldn’t put it down. Loved everything about it. Made me feel every emotion. Im crossing my finger that the author decides to somehow continue Daunis’ story or they turn it into a movie
Crown Point , IN
From start to finish this was a story and narrator that you can’t help but listen to. Daunis was a unique character in that she was allowed to be strong but flawed and growing. A very satisfying end.
Historical accuracy + fictional action = amazing story. I loved this book. Listed as YA but being 39, I still couldn’t put down. Thought-provoking and enlightening, eager to read more from the author.
Each character was unique and well written.The native Ojibwa tribe customs and history was very interesting and added depth to the plot. It really carried me away. I lost time while reading. Excellent
This one kept me loving it from the very beginning! It had loads of suspense, some criminal activity and a bit of romance! It hit all the check boxes for me! I could not put this one down, I loved it!
I loved this. The Ojibwa language is daunting at first but doesn’t stop you from reading. Some horrible twists force Daunis to make hard choices…they keep you reading and draw you into this world.
I loved everything about this. Ojibwe culture mixed in with crime fiction, and glimpses into traditions and tribal politics was fascinating. And called attention to difficulties Indigenous tribes fave
Truly great book! Top 2 this year so far! This is a taught, realistic, thought-provoking crime thriller with romance on the side. Also an own-voices eye-opener w/r/t modern indigenous life. Recommend!
Columbia City, IN
Brilliant. Heartbreaking, eye-opening, insightful, and so much more. A story about a culture and way of life that is not often discussed or taught. I highly recommend to EVERYONE, this is a must read!
San Jose, CA
I loved this book so much I am compelled to leave my first review. This book was moving, thought provoking, and lasting. I cried three times. I can't express enough how much everyone should read this.
Saint Louis, MO
Completely captivating story, strong female MC, heart-stopping mystery, swoon-worthy romance, this book had it all. Plus getting to learn about an Indigenous community from an Indigenous author? LOVE!
Cottage Grove, MN
Really loved this book. Touched on several areas that are important to me: Life on the res, addiction, interpersonal conflict. There were kind, understanding, and very wise elders who helped guide. .
I loved the journey of Daunis in this book emotionally, spiritually, professionally, and culturally and her Native voice. While her journey was difficult on many levels, her strength shined through.
Norton Shores, MI
Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley was so well written and thought out. I loved it. I loved the main character that we were following. I loved the different dramas that we deal with throughout