Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Book Review: Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Daunis has just graduated from high school but because of family issues, she's taking a year off before college. Her half-bother (who isn't even 9 months younger than her--so you can guess her parents aren't still together) has asked Daunis to befriend a new student who is on his hockey team, and introduce him to the town and maybe work out with him. Jamie is unaware of his own indigenous heritage so Daunis also introduces him to a lot of the traditions of the reservation and her tribe. 

At a party one night, something absolutely horrible happens to someone Daunis loves, and she finds out that there is an undercover FBI agent in their midst. Daunis knew there was a meth epidemic hitting her community, but when it hits that close to home, she's willing to get involved--although she's also conflicted. If she helps the feds, is she betraying her people? But she's trying to help save her people. But what if that means lying to her friends and family and betraying trust? Is that worth it if it saves lives? And the federal government hasn't exactly proven themselves to be trustworthy in the past, with Ojibwe or other tribes. Are they telling the truth?

It's like 21 Jump Street set in an indigenous community. It's exciting, a thrilling ride, with twists and turns, and some good red herrings that threw me off. Meanwhile, as a white reader I learned a lot about the Ojibwe nation, this particular tribe in Michigan, and issues surrounding being biracial (Daunis's mother is white) in this community. I learned interesting things about living so close to the Canadian border, hockey, and native medicine. It's a fantastic read, great for both teens and adults, and very much an adrenaline rush at the end. 

This book is published by Henry Holt BYR, a division of Macmillan, my employer.

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