Cover Image: Firekeeper's Daughter

Firekeeper's Daughter

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Member Reviews

I am kicking myself for waiting a year or more to read this beautiful book after receiving an arc through NetGalley. The book is set in I believe it was 2005, so that took a minute to adjust to, but this book is nothing like it appears.

Of all the contemporary YA books I've read in my lifetime, this is one of the ones that feels very real and I don't want to say relatable because it isn't, but I guess believable, well at least as far as one can believe a recent graduate goes undercover in her own town to uncover the drug ring.

My only complaint in the book is the dishonesty and purposeful keeping back information as an informant to the agents in charge of you-that really bugged me. My most favorite thing in the book was the incorporation of Daunis' Ojibwe customs. Second, I appreciated the ending and everything Daunis went through to get to the ending.


If you decide to pick up this book, do yourself a favor and go with the audio so you can hear the language being spoken-it is beautiful and worth it.
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This book tackles a variety of issues with a compelling set of characters. It is fast paced and nuanced. I would recommended to teens and yound adults who enjoy darker stories and mystery.
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Yes, Yes, Yes!!! Thank you to Ms. Boulley for this well-crafted masterpiece!!! I can't wait to introduce my students to Daunis' story. This is a text that will definitely be in my library and in my classroom
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This book was AMAZING and I did not ever want to put it down to attend to the real world. This is an own voices story that truly emerges the reader into the life of the main character and embraces a wonderful character representation. I found myself enraptured and loving every second, while also learning so much about the language and cultural practices. The writing in this novel was excellent and the plot kept me guessing at each and every turn. I loved Daunis, and enjoyed getting to follow the story through her lens. This book tackles hard and potentially triggering issues such as government-sponsored violence against tribal communities, violence against women, and consequences of the drug trade. I strongly recommend that you take the time to read this book!
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Amazing. Just as everyone said.  Couldn’t put it down from start to finish. The mystery and characters. Powerful.
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An Ojibwe teen puts her college dreams on hold to investigate a lethal new drug threatening her community. A fast-paced, must-read mystery.
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Firekeeper's Daughter is hands down one of the best books I've ever read, full stop. Boulley's mastery of character, world, prose, and suspense makes this an engaging, heartbreaking, uplifting tale about one girl doing whatever it takes to protect her community. Angeline Boulley is a new auto-buy author for me, and I cannot wait to read whatever she does next.
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Trigger Warning: rape, murder, gun, use of drugs, assault
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
My Review:

I received an ARC of this book from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review – thanks!

I don’t know if there are any words to really describe how wonderful and spectacular this book was. Boulley’s writing sucked me into the story and I could not put the book down until I had finished it and finally had answers. There are so many levels to this story and in the end, they all weave together so beautifully. This is a book that definitely needs to be on everyone’s radars.

Firstly, I just have to acknowledge how much I learned reading this book. Firekeeper’s Daughter unapologetically emerges its readers into Daunis’s life and culture and for that I believe a lot of readers will resonate with this book. The language and cultural practices are brought seamlessly into the story and help to build up the world around Daunis.

By the end of the book, I loved Daunis more than I already did within the first few chapters. Her character growth throughout the story is tested by everything she goes through, she comes out on the other end a different Daunis than at the beginning. She goes through so much and still remains true to herself at the end of the story. Because, really, her growth is the centre of the story, apart from everything that she becomes involved with as the story goes on.

The overall plot of the novel was so well written. Every twist and turn, though I may not have seen it coming, made more sense as I reflected back on the story. All of the little pieces come together in the end, in a way that I did not expect initially, but made sense in the end. This is what really makes a thriller / mystery for me and Boulley does an excellent job keeping us on our toes until the last few chapters.

Just as a last thought, this book is set in 2004/05, which I was not expecting but really loved. The reliance on flip phones (the texting in this book was perfect, fascination with iTunes(!! does anyone even use that anymore??). It was very nostalgic in that way, and though I would have been four or five during this book’s setting, these were definitely things I recognized from my childhood. Does that make this a histfic as well if the 90s are considered a historical setting??

All in all, this was an excellent read. I cannot recommend it enough. I expected to really enjoy this book, but it completely blew me away. This beautiful cover holds in it a beautiful story, one that I can definitely see transferring well onto a screen.
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YA Mystery novel which takes place in the Sault Ste. Marie area of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, so close to Canada, at first I thought it actually was the setting.

Heartbreaking tragedies frame this crime/murder mystery.

Native American cultural representation, bi-racial representation, women in hockey rep.
The actress Isabella Star LaBlanc  was a fabulous narrator of the audiobook.

I really didn't like something which happened at the end of Part 2 of the novel: Daunis is portrayed as so smart and strong but something terrible that happens seemed so out of character to me that I was spitting mad that the author would do this. So mad, I was gonna DNF this one.

But I pushed through and in Parts 3 and 4 I realized that including it really helped to further shed light on the myriad of injustices Native Americans face and Native American women in particular.
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Fantastic YA mystery/realistic fiction/thriller that I recommend to readers especially everyone looking for a "diverse read", Own Stories,  Native Voices, or who love true crime and thrillers that remind them of their favorite true crime podcasts and shows.
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Let me just tell y'all that this book was excellent.

Firekeeper's Daughter is a YA thriller that follows Daunis, a biracial hockey player whose late Ojibwe father is not listed on her birth certificate because her white grandparents did not approve of her parents' interracial relationship. (Lots of good commentary and internal dialogue here about the complexities of being biracial with racist family members who are an active part of your life.) When Daunis bears witness to a murder, her search for answers uncovers a painful history, reveals some sinister truths, and results in some traumatic encounters.

Boulley's novel is incredibly well written and does not shy away from the hard truths about government-sponsored violence against tribal communities, violence against women, and the consequences of the drug trade. The book definitely covers heavy and traumatic topics,  but there are also several moments of joy and a little bit of romance. In her author's note, Boulley talks about the beauty and strength of the Ojibwe community and that definitely shines through in the story.
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Hands down, my favorite book of 2021. I loved every page of this book, from the characters to the plot to the rich landscapes. Daunis is a character who will stick with me for a long time to come.
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DNF @ 5%

I've heard a lot of people enjoying this book, and I'll continue to recommend it for people for whom it sounds like a perfect fit. For me, however, it was extremely slow and difficult to get into. 	After 5%, though, my eyes are just glazing over every time I try to keep reading.
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Daunis is part of a Native American community and is pulled into discovering where young adults are getting their drugs in the community. Her work as a confidential informant leads her to many discoveries about her community, her family, and herself. I loved how this author combined the cultural elements into a truly compelling story.
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I understand why this novel was Reese's book club pick, but I don't understand why it won Printz.

There is a lot of interesting information here about Indigenous culture and traditions, tribal law and politics, economics of the reservations. But this book needed a lot of editorial direction and tightening up. It's too long and often repetitive, the first half of it is a giant info-dump. Too many story threads that end up nowhere (training to make meth, anyone?)

It also suffers from succumbing to the worst of YA tropes. The romance is dominant, and it's of the cringiest variety. It's stale and cliche, even if you forget that there is a huge age difference and power imbalance in the relationship. Nobody even mentions this in the reviews. Why? How is this "romance," if not entirely illegal, at least not unethical and a fireable offense?

As far as the mystery element, it had a potential and it's moderately engaging, although once again, the book falls back onto the YA mystery custom of hinging on incompetent adults doing nothing.

I enjoyed some parts of Firekeeper's Daughter, however (view spoiler) happened near the end, that felt out of place, unwarranted, badly written. The only reason for it I found in this novel was to showcase an (arguably) important ritual, but that's a terrible reason to have a character suffer through something like that. So 2 stars for that, although I wanted to go as low as 1.
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**Thank you to NetGalley, the author, & the publisher for a chance to read to & review an ARC of this book!**

Please find my extended feedback below...along with some spoilers (beware). 
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Things I Liked: 
-This novel balances a gripping thriller with elements of romance, coming of age, and strong family values. 
-I absolutely loved the cultural elements of this story. It highlighted how intricate, beautiful, and diverse Native American cultures can be. It sparked my interest to learn more about a Native American culture that is close to where I live. 
-I thought the relationship between Daunis and Jamie was complicated, but realistic given the circumstances. It felt believable. 
-The author did not shy away from difficult topics (rape, discrimination, drug use, death, etc.) that can plague all communities. These topics were handled with respect, but were depicted realistically as well. 

Things That Didn't Sit Quite Right With Me: 
-Nothing to note here. 

Overall, I gave this book 5 stars. I would recommend it to anyone. It has become one of my favorite books this year.
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Although this was a young adult book, it played out like an adult thriller that happened to have characters that were mainly in high school.  The setup for the drama is when deaths start to pop up around town.  I loved that this was written by an indigenous person and that they used their tribal experience to weave and move the story along.
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I am always looking for powerful books as I build a diverse classroom library, This novel was gripping with believable interesting characters, demonstrated a unique setting, and a distinctive point of view. I highly recommend this novel for high school students.
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3.5* review

I enjoyed this book but I definitely felt a disconnect with the plot and the characters.  The best part was the mystery journey and uncovering clues along the way. I was super invested however when the reveal finally came, it was not as exciting because it ended up being pretty obvious halfway so I was hoping for a plot twist.  Not only that but the MC took forever to acknowledge who the culprit was which was a bit frustrating.  

Basically I think that the beginning half was great as I enjoyed learning more about the culture as well as the effects of drugs in certain minority communities but the second half went a bit downhill.
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This story was informing while being engaging. I was excited to get into this book, while not really knowing anything about it. The reality of the situations was heart breaking and knowing this is fiction doesn’t hide the fact that this is real in many communities. Such a wonderful book.
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