So so good. A mystery/thriller set in the upper Michigan peninsula...full of loving Ojibwe cultural representation. An amazing, tough, prickly-but-loveable hockey playing lead character reminiscent of The Hate You Give's Starr.
There is so much to absorb in Angeline Boulley’s debut novel. The storyline is excellent, that of a girl beginning her college education being recruited by the FBI as an informer helping to track down the meth that is targeting tribal members. The slow start to the book is most appreciated as you end the story. The early pages set the stage for the Ojibwe way of life as it meets the needs of current tribal members. Daunis Firekeeper is an excellent protagonist. For a young woman, she has an amazing respect for her culture. Her mother is white, her father was Ojibwe. Never marrying Daunis’s white mother, he married a native woman and is later killed. Daunis’s half-brother, Levi, plays a major role in the story, both in the meth issue and hocky. If you live right next to Canada, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Ice hockey rules supreme. If it were just the story plot of capturing the bad meth distributers, the story would be still good, but when you add in Daunis’s observations about a native culture that works to make women self-confident leaders, her respect for elders and the look at science and traditional medicine it becomes almost required reading. There’s a lot of violence in the book, violence against women and violence toward each other. One of my favorite parts is the Women’s Circle, who at night take a man who has mistreated a woman to a secluded area and hand out their own form of justice. The book is aimed at audiences 14 years old and up. It would make an excellent mother-daughter bookclub selections. And as Daunis knows the value (literally keeping her from dying) of strong and worthy elders, a discussion from different points of view would add to the enjoyment of the story. While many would say this is a plot driven story, without the variety and strengths and weaknesses of the characters, the story would not have the depth it does.
A Must-Read YA staff pick 2021. An Entertainment Weekly Most Anticipated Books of 2021 Selection. “A masterpiece. 'Firekeeper’s Daughter' is going to rock the YA world like Angie Thomas did with 'The Hate U Give.'" – Marika McCoola, Porter Square Books
This book cover is stunning!
In Michigan’s upper peninsula, Daunis has never felt fully accepted by her Anishinaabe community. Born to a white mother, she’s pale-skinned and unregistered. A former high-school hockey star, she now sets her sights on medical school. But the summer before college, a handsome new hockey player turns her world upside down. It’s the early 2000’s; smartphones are hardly a thing, meth is on the rise, and—not unlike today—native peoples are still an afterthought. In this thrilling, feminist tale rich with Ojibwe culture, Daunis must decide what to tell and what to keep secret. Firekeeper’s Daughter is a powerful story that honors traditional wisdom and allows Indigenous women to be heard. I loved it!
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