By Angeline Boulley
Rating: 5/5 Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller, OwnVoice Publisher: Entangled Publishing Pub Date: March 16, 2021 Was Part of My Book Of The Month Delivery Available: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookShop
TW: drugs, death, sexual assault, violence
Firekeeper’s Daughter Synopsis: Eighteen year old Daunis Fountaine has struggled with her place in her community as she is half-Ojibwe and half-white, not fully belonging to either side. When her dreams of starting anew in college are sidelined by a family tragedy, she stays near home to help her mother. At least there’s the new, cute, hockey player, Jamie Johnson, to keep her occupied as she becomes his ambassador to the community. When Daunis witnesses a murder that shakes her world, she’s recruited by the FBI to help solve the problem murdering her community as she knows both the chemistry and Obijwe traditions to help. But searching for the truth might be the one thing that tears her apart the most, how far is she willing to go to protect those around her?
Wow, just wow. This book was such a great read. Like easily in my favorite books ever read category.
I mean I picked this book out for BOTM because the cover looked amazing, I figured I needed to expand my genres, and it was an OwnVoice novel by an indigenous author. I really didn’t read the synopsis… but boy did I win the going in blind jackpot.
I’m going to do my faves of Firekeeper’s Daughter because I don’t trust myself to not use caps lock or spew gibberish:
Daunis Fountaine might be my favorite narrator. It’s a YA novel AND she reads like a young adult, but she is so mature. She’s had a lot of experience and trauma in her life. Her conflict with her families (she’s half Indigenous, half white), her identity, her future were all such powerful points in this novel. This book is a character driven novel.
While a large portion of the plot revolves around solving murders (fun!), I found Daunis’ personal journey more compelling. I don’t want to speak too much on this because I don’t want to give anything away.
The mystery! It was so topical and kept me guessing the entire time. In hindsight I can see some of the signs, but Boulley crafted an intriguing tale.
Annishinaabe culture is the heart of this book. The language, the traditions, the struggles were seamlessly woven into the storyline that without them this book is nothing. Boulley also uses this to highlight racism, bigotry, violence, and the disproportionate murders and sexual assaults on Indigenous peoples. Not an easy feat, but one handled with incredible care.
Jamie! Love him. He’s in my favorite book bf pile. I need another book on him please! I want to know more, I NEED to know more. Please and thank you! (yes, there was romance in this book, yay🥰)
My only complaint (and it’s a small one) is that some of the minor plot lines are never fully addressed. They’re just left hanging, which considering how much is packed into this novel I’m not shocked, but that’s my only little complaint.
Long Story Short
Do I recommend this book? Hell yes! As a reader who rarely reads YA or any kind of thriller novel I adored this book. Firekeeper’s Daughter was absolutely enchanting and I got sucked in and failed to do any work all day because of it (sorry, not sorry). From this point out I will be immediately purchasing all future books of Angeline Boulley. I cannot stress how much I loved this book. There’s so much depth to this story.
If you haven’t read it please do! I can imagine that the audiobook version is stunning. I will now be on the search to find similar novels. And I’ve seen that it’s getting picked up into a miniseries by the Obama’s production company! Yay!
If you liked this book, the only one that I’ve read that is remotely similar is Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner. There’s murder and mystery as well! It’s fairly different in context, but similar enough to make it an entertaining read! My full review of it is here.