Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley | ARC review

[ An ARC was given by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. ]

This review is spoiler-free!

9781250766571Title: Firekeeper’s Daughter
Series: standalone
Author: Angeline Boulley
Published: March 16, 2021
Publisher: Henry, Holt and Co.
Category: young adult
Genre: mystery, thriller
Pages: 496
My Rating: ★★★★★
Goodreads page

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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.

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.

[ This synopsis was taken directly from Goodreads. ]

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Firekeeper’s Daughter is one of those books that I think everyone should read, regardless of what your book preferences are. The issues and conversations that Angeline Boulley bring up throughout the story are just so important and aren’t talked about enough. Basically, if there’s one thing I want you to get out of this review is that you need to do yourself a favor and read this book.

There is so much to unpack here that I don’t know where to begin.

The story itself is so well-written. I love how the author incorporates her culture throughout all aspects of the story and not just the main character. You can see bits and pieces of it in the conversations between characters, events, and how Daunis interacts with the world. Daunis uses a mix of Ojibwe and English that I can imagine will make a lot of Native people feel represented/heard. Everything feels very well-thought-out that it’s impossible for it not to be an enjoyable experience.

What makes this story so important is that it talks about a bunch of serious topics. It touches on microaggressions/ racism, sexism, injustice, drug abuse, grief/loss, violence, identity, and so much more. It also talks about the important aspects of life like love, friendship, community, and hope. The author balances the positives and negatives masterfully. She puts in *just* the right amount of both so that the reader can feel and understand the weight of the issues without feeling incredibly hopeless.

I don’t read a lot of thrillers, and I was reminded why while I was reading this book. For reference, I’m a huge scaredy cat. I can’t handle anything that’s remotely creepy. I think Coraline (the movie) is terrifying, even in my 20s. There were times that things got so intense in this story that I had to set the book down and take a breather. However, because this book is amazing, I picked it right back up because I needed to know what happened next. It’s kind of embarrassing how hard my heart was pounding during the more scary scenes, but I guess that shows this book is a really good thriller.

Kinda sorta spoilery thoughts: (highlight the paragraph with your mouse to read the text)

The ending of this story was satisfying in the sense that it felt like a real ending. A lot of the time young adult authors (at least in the fantasy genre) will put their characters through so much trauma and at the end just say that they live happily ever after. While that’s fine and dandy, it’s not super realistic that someone can just shed the emotional and mental strain of a traumatic event. The way the author acknowledges that but also gives a bit of closure to both the characters and the reader was *chef’s kiss.* The ending gave me a feeling that this chapter of Daunis’ life is closing, but her story is just beginning. Because of that, even though this is a fictional story, it makes Daunis feel all the more real.

Overall, 10/10, would HIGHLY recommend. Firekeeper’s Daughter is thrilling, exciting, suspenseful, and heartfelt. You’d be remiss if you don’t add this book to your TBR because it is a great story with great representation and great conversations about tough topics.

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I give Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley 5 stars!

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Stay awkward and amazing!

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What are your thoughts on Firekeeper’s Daughter?
What are some diverse reads that you recommend?

3 thoughts on “Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley | ARC review

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