Book Review

Book Review: Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: YA Contemporary Mystery
Length: 496 pages
Author: Angeline Boulley
Publisher: Henry, Holt, and Co.
Release Date: March 16th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

As a biracial, unenrolled tribal member and the product of a scandal, eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. Daunis dreams of studying medicine, but when her family is struck by tragedy, she puts her future on hold to care for 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, certain details don’t add up and she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into the heart of a criminal investigation.

Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, but secretly pursues her own investigation, tracking down the criminals with her knowledge of chemistry and traditional medicine. But the deceptions—and deaths—keep piling up and soon the threat strikes too close to home.

Now, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go to protect her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.

Debut author Angeline Boulley crafts a groundbreaking YA thriller about a Native teen who must root out the corruption in her community, for readers of Angie Thomas and Tommy Orange.

FIERCE DEBUT.

This was absolutely worth the hype and awards. I had no idea this was a mystery book until the first few chapters and the unwinding of the plot was intricate, twisted, and kept me on my toes.

I loved the main character, Daunis. She was strong and brave. I loved the way she loved her community, friends and family. It was a coming-of-age tale interspersed in a tense landscape.

Highly recommend this one on audio!! The narrator did a wonderful job. The book slowed down a bit in the middle for me. But the last half definitely picked up. I couldn’t stop listening. I had to know what was going to happen next. Who was going to survive and how everyone learned to move on from difficult situations.

The romance disappointed me a bit. I loved the small role it played throughout the book. A bit of a forbidden, first-love kind of devotion. Yet, I realized with the ending I didn’t get that closure I was hoping for with them.

All in all, I’d say this is a must read. I loved learning about the traditions, the multiple layers to drug abuse and it’s resounding effects it has on those around to pick up the pieces. How traditions and complex family dynamics hold a place in your soul. A haunting tale, a beautiful landscape, fantastic writing, and I hope this author has more books out in the future!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Mystery
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: one closed door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: ableism, racism/racial slurs, sexual harassment (on page), rape (on page), cheating, child abuse/neglect, substance abuse, murder-suicide (on page), overdose mentioned, grief/loss depiction, loss of loved ones, car accident (resulting in hospitalization, near death moments, bullying

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