Firekeeper's Daughter

by Angeline Boulley (Author)

Firekeeper's Daughter
Reading Level: 9th − 12th Grade
A PRINTZ MEDAL WINNER!A MORRIS AWARD WINNER!AN AMERICAN INDIAN YOUTH LITERATURE AWARD YA HONOR BOOK! A REESE WITHERSPOON x HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK CLUB YA PICK An Instant #1 New York Times BestsellerSoon to be adapted at Netflix for TV with President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama's production company, Higher Ground. "One of this year's most buzzed about young adult novels." --Good Morning America A TIME Magazine Best YA Book of All Time SelectionAmazon's Best YA Book of 2021 So Far (June 2021)A 2021 Kids' Indie Next List SelectionAn Entertainment Weekly Most Anticipated Books of 2021 SelectionA PopSugar Best March 2021 YA Book Selection With four starred reviews, Angeline Boulley's debut novel, Firekeeper's Daughter, is a groundbreaking YA thriller about a Native teen who must root out the corruption in her community, perfect for readers of Angie Thomas and Tommy Orange. 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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Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

With sharp turns and charming characters, this debut thriller by Annishinabe author Boulley centers 18-year-old Daunis Fontaine, who loves and fits into her community but yearns for official citizenship in the Sault tribe. Science-minded Daunis had planned on going away for college, but after her uncle overdoses on meth and her grandmother has a stroke, she stays closer to her Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., home, negotiating a complex familial situation having to do with her deceased Annishinabe father. After witnessing her best friend's murder by her meth-reliant boyfriend, she begins looking into the mounting local meth overdoses, using her knowledge of chemistry as well as traditional plants and medicine to source the drug and, amid growing danger, reveal its seller. Featuring prolific use of Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe language), this wonderfully tribally specific story offers powerful messages about what it can mean to be an Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman): "complex and sometimes exhausted, but mostly brave." Hitting hard when it comes to issues such as citizenship, language revitalization, and the corrosive presence of drugs on Native communities, this novel will long stand in the hearts of both Native and non-Native audiences. Ages 14-up. Author's agent: Faye Bender, the Book Group. (Mar.)

Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up--This #OwnVoices novel is a character-driven crime thriller packed with Ojibwe culture and high-stakes tension with themes of identity, trust, and resilience. The journey of 18-year-old Daunis Fontaine is told in four parts overlaid by the four directions of Ojibwe medicine wheel teachings. Daunis should be focused on a fresh start at college after her uncle's untimely death. She is sucked back into the world of ice hockey and starts slowly falling for Jamie, one of her brother's new teammates. Soon she finds herself living two disparate lives: one as a loving daughter, niece, and granddaughter in her family and tribal community, and one as a confidential informant to the FBI as they investigate a deadly new drug. She dangerously furthers the investigation on her own after witnessing a murder, and ultimately must choose between protecting the people she loves or protecting her tribal community. Native cultural aspects, such as the central role of Elders in tribal life, the special relationship between aunts and nieces, and decentering of the individual in favor of the tribe are included, as are some darker aspects of life including drugs, violence, and sexual assault. Daunis, Jamie, and other characters are fleshed out, relatable, and believable, and Daunis's journey to become a strong Ojibwe woman is compelling. VERDICT A strong crime fiction addition to any library, educators will find this text useful in discussions of character growth, social justice, and Native issues.--Kara Stewart (Sappony), Literacy Coach & Reading Specialist

Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

This is one bold, uncompromising and elegantly crafted debut. —Courtney Summers, New York Times-bestselling author of Sadie

Intricate and moving. Boulley takes the reader on an incredible journey with the assurance of a veteran novelist. —Tochi Onyebuchi, award-winning author of Beasts Made of Night and Riot Baby

"A rare and mesmerizing work that blends the power of a vibrant tradition with the aches and energy of today's America. This book will leave you breathless!" —Francisco X. Stork, acclaimed author of Marcelo in the Real World and Illegal

A crime suspense fiction [with] a lot of layers, Indigenous culture, and it's really beautifully written. —Georgia Hardstark, co-host of My Favorite Murder podcast

[An] absolute powerhouse of a debut. —NPR

"Another YA novel that's absolutely page-turning required reading for adults...Our heroine is so smart, so thoughtful, and so good." —Glamour

Raw and moving. . . Boulley has crafted a nuanced and refreshing protagonist. —Cosmopolitan

Sure to be on one of the year's best YA novels —POPSUGAR

A gorgeous insight into Anishinaabe culture and a page-turning YA thriller with a healthy dose of romance thrown in, Firekeeper's Daughter hits all of the right notes. —Hypable

Immersive and enthralling, Firekeeper's Daughter plunges the reader into a community and a landscape enriched by a profound spiritual tradition. Full of huge characters and spellbinding scenes, it gives a fascinating insight into life on and off the reservation, with Daunis as a tough and resourceful heroine through every vicissitude. —Financial Times

Hitting hard when it comes to issues such as citizenship, language revitalization, and the corrosive presence of drugs on Native communities, this novel will long stand in the hearts of both Native and non-Native audiences. —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Though Firekeeper's Daughter contains gripping action sequences and gasp-inducing twists, it's Daunis' mission of self-discovery, which begins as a low and steady growl and grows to a fierce, proud roar, that has the most impact... Though it both shocks and thrills, in the end, what leaves you breathless is Firekeeper's Daughter's blazing heart. —BookPage, Starred Review

Boulley, herself an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, writes from a place of love for her community and shares some key teachings from her culture, even mixing languages within the context of the story. She doesn't shy away from or sugar-coat the very real circumstances that plague reservations across the country, and she tackles these through her biracial hero who gets involved in the criminal investigation into the corruption that led to this pain. An incredible thriller, not to be missed. —Booklist, Starred Review

This suspenseful upper-YA novel will keep readers wondering who Daunis can trust. —Horn Book, Starred Review

A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status. —Kirkus Reviews

A character-driven crime thriller packed with Ojibwe culture and high-stakes tension with themes of identity, trust, and resilience. —School Library Journal

A perfectly calibrated pace and a constantly shifting list of suspects keep the tension high. —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Angeline Boulley
Angeline Boulley, an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, is a storyteller who writes about her Ojibwe community in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. She is a former Director of the Office of Indian Education at the U.S. Department of Education. Angeline lives in southwest Michigan, but her home will always be on Sugar Island. Firekeeper's Daughter is her debut novel.
Classification
Fiction
ISBN-13
9781250766564
Lexile Measure
720
Guided Reading Level
-
Publisher
Henry Holt & Company
Publication date
March 20, 2021
Series
-
BISAC categories
YAF058220 - Young Adult Fiction | Social Themes | Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
YAF062000 - Young Adult Fiction | Thrillers & Suspense
YAF058080 - Young Adult Fiction | Social Themes | Drugs, Alcohol, Substance Abuse
YAF046010 - Young Adult Fiction | People & Places | Aboriginal & Indigenous
Library of Congress categories
Families
Family life
Indians of North America
Michigan
Crime
Racially mixed people
Ojibwa Indians
Caregivers
Drugs
Undercover operations
Michael L. Printz Award
Winner 2022 - 2022
William C. Morris YA Debut Award
Winner 2022 - 2022
Edgar Allan Poe Awards
Nominee 2022 - 2022
American Indian Youth Literature Award
Honor Book 2022 - 2022

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