This book may be the most important one that I’ve read in a long time. It’s a tough read and deals with triggering topics but it’s worth the emotional investment.
From the Blurb:
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.
Firekeeper’s Daughter asks, how do you seek rightful justice after the world takes all that you love away from you?
Daunis Fontaine lives her life balancing two worlds: her life with her white mother where she has a hefty trust fund and her life where she carries on her strong family traditions as an Ojibwe woman. Being the product of a huge scandal between her mother and father, Daunis has spent her entire life feeling as though she doesn’t belong anywhere.
This book begins like any other YA and readers can expect a nicely paced backstory of Daunis. My favorite part was reading about life on the Ojibwe reservation. Daunis carries the love of her family close to her heart and continuing the Ojibwe traditions means a lot to her. Through her character, I can tell how much care Angeline Boulley poured into this story.
Just as I felt like I finally knew this intelligent and brave girl, the plot took a turn.
Daunis finds herself in the middle of a huge police investigation after witnessing a murder. Her grief makes her decide to work with the undercover officers and everything becomes more complicated. She quickly realizes not everyone is who they seem to be and she can’t trust anyone. There are painful secrets inside both of her worlds.
I went into this book knowing very little of what this story was actually about and I’m glad that I did. Personally, I would suggest others do the same. There are heavy topics discussed, though, and a few of the big trigger warnings are murder, drugs, violence, sexual assault and grief.
For a debut novel, I think Angeline Boulley did an outstanding job. Outside of the love she put into Daunis and her Ojibwe traditions, she brought light to topics that need to be discussed more. Her writing is beautiful and there were several times I cried while reading. Firekeeper’s Daughter is gut-wrenching, but in a good way.
The most intriguing aspect of this story is the characters. I know I’ve only mentioned Daunis in this review, but that’s because there are secrets these characters hold that make it hard to properly introduce them. There are characters who are good but have dark secrets. Some are evil but there’s an understandable reason behind their actions. The bottom line is that no one in this story is completely good or evil, including Daunis. This made the story much more interesting to read.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was shocking and heartfelt. The story kept me on the edge of my seat and it had one of the best endings. I highly recommend all readers to check out Angeline Boulley’s debut. These characters will teach you a few things about yourself and how you handle the painful moments in your life. Firekeeper’s Daughter will release on March 16th so make sure to pick up a copy!
Editor’s note: this book contains themes of murder, drugs, violence, sexual assault and grief.