Cover Image: Warrior Girl Unearthed

Warrior Girl Unearthed

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Member Reviews

This was another fascinating and well woven mystery from Angeline Boulley, but what I appreciated the most was the day to day lives of Perry, Eric, Pauline and the other Misfit Toys. The way in which Boulley shows the lives of the Native community on Sugar Island (especially for someone such as myself - a white, middle class woman from the UK) paints such a vivid picture. I thought the examination of NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act) and the way in which the good intentions of the Act have been subverted over time was incredibly eye opening, as was the discussion around the many indigenous women who go missing every year. Overall, this was a really enjoyable read and I would definitely recommend it.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Book Review: Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley

Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley is a captivating and thought-provoking novel that delves into the complexities of cultural reclamation, repatriation, and the power of community. Set against the backdrop of a summer program and a thrilling heist, Boulley weaves together a compelling narrative that explores important themes of identity, heritage, and the fight for justice.

The story revolves around Perry Firekeeper-Birch, a young girl who was expecting a carefree summer but finds herself entangled in a mission to repatriate her ancestor’s remains. After an unfortunate accident, Perry is forced to work to repay her Auntie Daunis for the damages. She forms an unlikely bond with the other misfits in the summer program, and together, they embark on a journey to right the wrongs committed against their community.

One of the strengths of this novel is Boulley’s exceptional writing style. The prose is engaging and well-paced, effortlessly carrying the reader through the story. Boulley’s passion for her people and culture shines through the pages, creating an immersive experience for readers. Her ability to tackle difficult subjects with sensitivity and nuance is truly commendable.

A central focus of the book is the repatriation of ancestral remains and sacred items under the NAGPRA law. Boulley skillfully educates non-native readers about this important issue, making it accessible without detracting from the overall narrative. The exploration of NAGPRA adds depth to the storyline and provides a valuable opportunity for readers to understand the struggles faced by Indigenous communities.

While the book excels in many areas, one minor issue I had was with the protagonist, Perry. At the beginning of the story, she came across as self-centered and rude, which made it challenging to fully connect with her character. However, as the plot unfolds, Perry undergoes significant growth, becoming more empathetic and relatable. By the end of the book, any initial reservations about her character fade away.

In conclusion, Warrior Girl Unearthed is an exceptional novel that combines elements of mystery, adventure, and cultural exploration. Angeline Boulley’s writing is powerful and evocative, effectively conveying her love for her Native American heritage. Through Perry’s journey and the Misfit Toys’ quest for justice, Boulley highlights important issues surrounding repatriation and brings them to the forefront of readers’ minds. Despite my initial reservations about the protagonist, this book was a thoroughly enjoyable read that left me excited to explore more of Boulley’s work in the future.

Rating: 4/5

**ARC Via NetGalley**
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Im giving this three stars because while I DNF'd at 46% I think it could be a great book for the right audience. I loved this authors previous book and so was very excited to be back in this world but this book was just so so slow that lost interest. I wanted to continue because the topics that are being discussed are important but I think I would prefer to read an adult or non-fiction book for this.
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I really love The Firekeeper's Daughter and this was a great second novel by the author. It is a good follow on however it is a stand alone so you don't have to read Firekeeper's daughter before reading this. I enjoyed the pace of the story, the characters, including the main chatacter who I really enjoyed with her feistiness! and I loved thay again I learned a lot about the culture of the Native American people.
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Firekeeper's Daughter was one of my favourite reads of 2021, and Warrior Girl Unearthed is a worthy follow-up. It's connected to Firekeeper's Daughter because we follow Perry, one of Daunis's nieces, around 10 years after the events Daunis went through in her book.

After reading Firekeeper's Daughter, I was amazed at how many different things it masterfully packed into one book, and that was again the case here. History and current day are so entwined with each other, in many different ways, which makes it a very complex story, feeling very realistic. But that never makes it hard to read. In fact, I could hardly put it down in the second half.

I thought Perry was an incredible main character to follow, and I came to love her so much, this warrior girl seeking to bring her warrior girl ancestor back home. I could feel all of her emotions so vividly, which is the mark of a great main character for me.

Since this book is set in 2014, I would love another companion novel set in current day, maybe following Daunis's son, or Shense's daughter, for instance.
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Angeline Boulley’s second novel returns to the tribe on Sugar Island explored in Firekeeper’s Daughter where time has moved on and Daunis is now an aunt with a niece in the form of Perry Firekeeper-Birch. That being said, it is still a standalone and you don’t need to have read her first book to understand the plot and characters. Initially I did not warm to Perry as a main character, she came across as selfish but as the story progressed she quickly developed as a character and grew as a person and my feelings about her definitely changed. She grew into a confident, fierce and loyal woman, willing to do what it takes to right the wrongs done to the Objibwe tribe and indigenous people in general. As an aside, I love the way the Objibwe language was woven into the book. 

I really liked Perry’s relationship with the other interns, specifically the ones in her group. Their personalities worked really well together. I found all the characters distinct, so even though she interacted with a lot of people inside and outside the tribe, it didn’t get confusing. 

Warrior Girl Unearthed definitely made me think a lot more about repatriation and how hard it is for tribes, communities and countries to get back what is rightfully theirs. Through this book I learnt about the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 (NAGPRA), which states that if federal agencies or institutions receive federal funding, they must give back "cultural items" that belong to Native Americans to their direct descendants or to Native American tribes, Alaska Native villages, and Native Hawaiian organisations that are culturally connected to those items. Essentially it forces museums and institutions to catalogue their indigenous ‘collections’ so that tribes can apply to get items of cultural heritage and remains of their ancestors returned to their rightful home with the tribe. Unfortunately, and maybe predictably, these items are often not catalogued correctly or in the allotted time or they are deemed not known in terms or origin so the tribe can never get them returned. Not only that, but remains are not stored together and instead separated into body parts, which is downright disrespectful at the very least. Warrior Girl Unearthed was incredibly eye-opening in this regard and is definitely something I was thinking about long after finishing the novel. 

This book has similar pacing to Firekeeper’s Daughter, it moves along at a medium pace that ramps up in the last section when everything suddenly starts careening off track. I loved the book but the last bit I couldn’t put down. I stayed up late to finish it because I couldn’t go to sleep not knowing how it ended!  

I absolutely loved Boulley’s first book and I’m so glad her second one is just as good. I haven’t been giving out five star ratings that much lately but this was a solid five star read. Highly recommend picking up this as your next book.
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I really enjoyed Fire Keeper’s Daughter last year, so when I saw Bouelley’s new novel on Netgalley, I was super quick to request it.

Warrior Girl Unearthed takes us back to Sugar Island and the Ojibwe reservation in the present day, some ten or so years after Daunis’ storyline in Firekeeper’s. This time we’re with Daunis’ niece, Pearl ‘Perry’ Firekeeper.

Along with her anxious straight-A academic twin, the feisty Perry enrolls in a summer program with the Ojibwe tribe council. Although reluctant at first (she’s only doing it to pay off the damage she caused to her jeep) Perry soon finds herself enveloped in a scandal that puts her tribe’s heritage at risk. As Perry learns more about the artifacts stolen from Ojibwe land and dispersed across the world for money, she becomes determined to do whatever she can to get them home.

Along the way, Perry has to navigate a budding romance; rules she can’t fathom; her sister’s rising anxiety; her auntie’s past trauma, and a whole heap of corruption.

Librarian Lowdown:
•Perry is feisty and often uses the expletives to match
•There is discussion of sexual assault
•There is discussion of drug and alcohol abuse
•KS4+ (Firekeeper’s Daughter is the same and I include trigger warnings for SA)
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This was really emotional and I loved getting to learn more about Indigenous culture. This book introduces a lot of injustices that indigenous people face, particularly girls and women, I think that for me, I just struggled to really be invested in the plot - it was hard to tell at times what direction the story was going in, and I felt like apart from the main character, the reader doesn't really get to connect with anyone else, and that by the time the story really unfolded by the end, it was a bit rushed and not properly developed - like it all unfolds and is then wrapped up within two or three chapters, and I just wish that it had been more fleshed out, personally. However, it is still a very emotionally powerful read, and I think the author did a fantastic job with discussing change and growth whilst also being mindful of the past and injustices faced. I also think that based off reviews, I'm going to really enjoy the author's first book Firekeeper's Daughter.
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This is a poignant, gripping, and thought provoking book. A book about loving your roots and trying to bring back you ancestors to where they belong.
Perry is a great character and the author did an excellent job in dealing with a very serious topics like the human remain in museums.
There's a lot of answers and this is one of them.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this arc, all opinions are mine
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3.5 stars I think. Angeline Bouley continues to do an amazing job of making you feel for the characters, but the plot and subplots were lacking. I feel like this book tried to touch on too many things at once and would have benefitted from focusing more on NAGPRA. I think another book about MMIW would be great, but the split focus here I think didn't work in the limited pages. There were more cookie cutter lines in this than in Firekeeper's Daughter, but still done in a way that makes them less glaring.
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The sequel to Firekeeper's Daughter finds Daunis' niece Perry plot a heist in order to bring her Native American ancestor's bones home. 

It is very apparent that the author cares deeply about her people and culture. you can feel it on every page as you learn about the ojibwe, their tribe, and their ancestors. The author portrays such passion and tenderness fin her writing that you cant help but feel the same way. 

 Perry is a great MC, their character arc throughout the story was excellent and getting to learn through Perry tings like  MMIW (missing and murdered indigenous women) which not enough people are aware of. This is also not as heavy as you would expect given the content and this is mostly because of Perry. 

This story feels very well realised, a real passion project.
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such an amazing and educational book. i was torn between 4.5 and 5 stars but ended up on 4.5 due to a few criticisms, like the slow start, slightly immature tone at points and a few unexplained things with the ending. however, this had really interesting discussions on museums, stolen ancestral artefacts/remains and the MMIW movement. i loved the main character and her friends and family, and the incorporation of language was done really well.
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**Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an advance copy of this title in exchange for a fair and honest review**

Continuing my personal challenge to broaden my reading to include a variety of voices, I was keen to read this title which was written from the point of view of a Native American teenager. Throughout the story, you could feel the love of the author for her people and her desire to inform and educate. I learned so much.

Perry Firekeeper-Birch is a planning a summer of fun until a car accident forces her to work to pay off the repair bills. Understandably, she begins this work feeling far from enthusiastic but, as she learns more about how poorly ancestral remains and artefacts are being treated, she becomes a passionate advocate for her people. 

I really enjoyed this book and empathised with Perry as she battle to find her path through her tribal responsibilities alongside her family life and the early days of a relationship. The second storyline about local women / girls going missing added even more drama and a decent twist.

An important read for those who want to learn more about Native Americans and MMIW.
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I was so excited to receive an e-arc of Angeline Boulley's latest release and it did not disappoint. I loved Boulley's first book, Firekeeper's Daughter so I had high expectations.

Warrior Girl Unearthed is set 10 years after the events of Firekeeper's Daughter, following Perry and her twin sister who are now 16. I loved being back on Sugar Island, the complexity of these stories and the history of Native American tribes.

Perry was a great main character, stubborn and impulsive but her growth across the story was well developed and executed. My only criticism of this story was there was a big build up to what was a very quick and slightly anticlimactic ending. They story resolved rather quickly.

BUT, I still loved this story and will pick up any future books Boulley publishes!
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Angeline Boulley is officially an auto-read author for me. I don’t want to spend this whole review comparing this to Firekeeper’s Daughter, so let me just say at the start that this book isn’t as polished as that one, and I doubt that it will get anywhere near as much acclaim – but it’s written with just as much heart, and I still loved it!

We follow Perry, whom we briefly met in Firekeeper’s Daughter as one of Aunt Teddie’s daughters. Perry is impulsive and a little immature: she drives too fast, likes to take risks, and is more interested in fishing than school – and (somewhat improbably!) I adored her. She just has so much love for her community and her culture, and her care and good intentions are evident, even when she’s making bad decisions. She grows so much over the course of the book, and I loved seeing her learn and mature, and figure out how she can fight for her community most effectively.

The cast of secondary characters was also great. Perry’s twin sister, Pauline, is her exact opposite, and the way they disagreed constantly, but still loved and protected each other so fiercely, felt so real. We also get plenty of cameos from characters from Firekeeper’s Daughter, including the inimitable Granny June, and of course Daunis herself!

This book can mostly be read as a standalone, but it does spoil a couple of things from Firekeeper’s Daughter if you haven’t read that (though it’s legitimately one of the best-written books I’ve ever read, so I don’t know what you’re waiting for!) One of my favourite parts of that book was Daunis’ relationship with Aunt Teddie, so I loved getting to see Daunis in the aunt role now, and generally as an adult and mother. (Daunis and Perry are technically cousins, but the age gap is such that they have more of a materteral relationship.)

The plot of this book is centred around NAGPRA, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, a US law that requires institutions like museums and universities to return cultural items (often including human remains) to Indigenous tribes. I hadn’t heard of NAGPRA, but was unsurprised to learn that institutions have spent the last thirty years dragging their feet and making excuses.

The discussion of how Indigenous history and sacred practices are seen as less valuable, or less worthy of care, than their white equivalents, was so clearly laid out, and so powerful. It’s all conveyed through the emotional reactions that Perry has when encountering the stolen items, and her distress is such an effective way for Boulley to show how brutal the theft of all these items has been, how deeply it affects Indigenous tribes, and why it’s so important that they be returned. It’s all also backed up by some really powerful epigraphs, which provide real-world context for everything happening in the story. There’s also discussion around Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, which is a smaller plot but no less effective.

I also love that not all the Ojibwemowin is translated: there are always enough context clues to figure it out, but the writing feels so much more natural and fluid than if it has to stop every few sentences to translate itself.

However, I think the plot overall is where the lack of polish shows the most, particularly towards the end. The climax of the story is so gripping, but the more I think about the story, the more loose ends and unanswered questions I still have. There are a lot of moving pieces that don’t all tie up, and some of the antagonists’ actions still don’t fully make sense to me.

The romantic subplot also felt under-developed. Perry begins a relationship with someone she first meets during the course of the story, and it all feels very early, so the level of heartbreak we’re told she feels when it’s not working out feels disproportionate to the interactions we’ve seen between them.

Overall, this may not be quite the masterpiece that Firekeeper’s Daughter is, but it’s no less important or powerful (and is also a less harrowing read, if the list of content warnings in Firekeeper’s Daughter is putting you off.) I hope Perry gets at least some of the love that Daunis did, and I will be waiting impatiently for whatever Angeline Boulley writes next!
CW: abduction, murder, grief, racism & cultural insensitivity, anxiety and trichotillomania, references to sexual assault
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I was worried that this wouldn't live up to The Firekeeper's Daughter, which was one of my favourite reads in 2022, but it certainly did. It was great to re-visit Sugar Island and to see some familiar characters from that book, although this also works fine as a standalone.
The characters were likeable and believable, although as an adult reading a YA book, I winced sometimes at their - unwise - decisions. I loved the family at the centre of the novel, and their wider circle within their community. The storyline about the repatriation of ancestors and indigenous artefacts was enlightening without ever being preachy or self-righteous. Recommended.
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Warrior Girl Unearthed returns the reader to Sugar Island, ten years after the events in Firekeeper’s Daughter, although you can read this without having read that book. Now our protagonist is a 16 year old Black Indigenous young woman, Perry Firekeeper-Birch, cousin of Daunis from Firekeeper’s Daughter. As the story opens Perry has a car accident, which results in her plans for a relaxed carefree summer being replaced by an internship at the Cultural Learning Centre’s museum. While there she learns a lot about the repatriation of Indigenous artifacts and ancestral remains, most especially the limitations of the NAGPRA. Frustrated and insulted by the limitations, delays and stalling, Perry decides to take direct action to ensure some of her tribe’s ancestors and treasures are returned. Meanwhile one native woman and then another goes missing.

There was so much to love about this story. Perry herself is fiesty and flawed, but truly wants to honour her ancestors and have her culture respected. There was a well-fleshed out cast of secondary characters. I thought Pauline’s anxiety was handled well and was delighted that Shense, a single teenage mother, was shown to be loving and competent - a good mum. I loved how supportive both Perry’s family and wider community were of her, of young people generally, and of each other. Sugar Island was richly brought to life as a vibrant, caring community where every person was valued. The novel was steeped in Ojibwe culture - language, clothing, dance, food, beliefs, customs, rituals and more - and showed how important the culture remains today. As a non-Indigenous reader I never felt lost, but nor did I feel pandered to. Some explanations were seamlessly included in the story, but the author also trusted the reader to figure things out from the context or to do a little research if needed.

 As the novel progressed the speed picked up, the tension increased, the tone became darker, and the mystery/thriller vibes really kicked in. However, this action never felt artificial, rather a natural outcome of the characters and issues introduced in the slightly slower paced early portion of the novel.

 I thought the title with its possible dual meaning was clever. Was the Warrior Girl the ancestor  whose remains sparked Perry's passion? Or was it Perry herself?

My one criticism was that there seemed to be a few messy loose ends and unanswered questions at the end. I was lucky enough to be reading an eARC (thanks One World Publications and Net Galley)  so some of these may be tidied up in the final version.

Apart from that minor quibble I’ve only got great things to say about this book. It’s got a multi-layered plot where all the strands, including coming of age, mystery, and romance, are deftly woven in to create a satisfying, absorbing and engaging whole. It’s richly immersive, especially in terms of modern Ojibwe culture. One of its main strengths is the way it highlights important issues, particularly the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, but doesn’t let the important messages get in the way of a wonderful story.

Warrior Girl Unearthed publishes this week. Do yourself a favour and grab a copy.
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This was brilliant, I really enjoyed it. It had a lot of information on Native American tribes, especially on history, laws and how people continue to oppress them. The characters were really likeable, the plot was fast paced and it almost read like a movie which was really cool. I can’t wait to see this book get the hype it absolutely deserves.
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The opening of a novel reveals much about the book as a whole, and just a couple of pages into 'Warrior Girl Unearthed', I was fully locked in with the characters, their dynamic together and history, their relationship to the setting, and hints of backstory. 

By Chapter Four, my heart was in my mouth, and then I began deeply to appreciate the exactitude with which Angeline Boulley set up the first three chapters with just enough of what I needed in order to slide into Perry's headspace, her life, her future, her essential Perry-ness; I felt by Chapter Four that I was just as close to Perry as I needed to be, for what followed. 

I haven't read 'Firekeeper's Daughter', though after this, I'll have to remedy that, because 'Warrior Girl Unearthed' is an enthralling read. For those wondering whether the novels should be read in order: I didn't feel at a disadvantage by reading 'Warrior Girl Unearthed' first; it's made me eager to read the earlier novel straight away, in order to learn the families' backstories. 

Boulley handles the novel's bilingualism skillfully and quite elegantly; I never felt like an outsider. She offers just enough explanation of the transcriptions, and there is just enough expectation that the reader will invest themselves and acquire commonly used phrases so that we no longer require translation every time. 

Each time I came back to read 'Warrior Girl Unearthed', it was like coming home to an old friend. It was simultaneously, however, with a keenness of attention, anticipating what might come next. Once you're entirely in it, the narrative fairly rockets along. And it's all so vivid! It's so visual. I could picture every colour, I'd full panoramas in my head of Perry's life whilst reading, so all praise to Boulley. 

This is one of those novels where you get to the final 20 pages and wonder how the rest of the story's going to be squeezed into that, whilst likewise contemplating slowing down just so the novel stretches out, because you can't bear to finish and abandon it. 

Best contemporary YA I've read this year! 

Sincere thanks to Oneworld Publications for the opportunity to read an eARC.
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Warrior GIrl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley is a strong follow up to her debut novel , Firekeeper's Daughter, and takes us back to Sugar Island. This time the focus is on Perry Firekeeper- Birch, a teenage girl who finds herself interning at the Cultural Centre museum. At first she finds the job tedious and laments her lost fishing time , but as she spend more time with her mentor Cooper Turtle, she learns about the Native Americans Protection and Repatriation Act, designed to ensure that Native artifacts, cultural and religious objects and even human remains are returned to their people in a respectful and timely manner. Unfortunately the act has limitations , and even those institutions who are compelled by it can employ delaying tactics or even claim that they cannot identify items and remains well enough to determine which tribe they should be returned to., Perry is particularly taken by the story of Warrior Girl , the remains of a young woman which are being kept by a local university which claims she cannot be repatriated. The wheels of bureaucracy run far too slowly for an impulsive teen like Perry, and soon she and a group of friends band together to create a heist plan that places them all in terrible danger. Aside from this , the community is grieving for a number of young Native women who have disappeared, and when Perry's friend vanishes on the night the heist is planned she fears the worst.
Once again the author really highlights the traditions of the Ojibwe , their history and culture is at the heart of the story and it fascinated me and made me want to learn more. Perry is a wonderful character, and so are many of her friends or the "misfit toys" as they are referred to in the book . She is strong willed and determined but like many teens impulsive which can cause her problems at times, especially when compared with her sensible and steady twin sister. It was nice to see some of the characters from Firekeeper's Daughter again, even as a minor part of the story. I strongly feel that this is a book that adults will gain a lot from reading, it is definitely not one just for teens, and I think that readers will be gripped by the swiftly moving plot, engaged by the compelling characters and possibly even enraged by the injustices that are discussed throughout the book. I read and reviewed an ARC courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher , all opinions are my own.
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