Author: Angeline Boulley
Publisher: Henry, Holt & Co.
Released: March 16th, 2021
Warnings: Abuse, drug addiction, assault, discrimination, sexual assault
Firekeeper’s Daughter is a debut novel that very much doesn’t feel like a debut novel. Written by Angeline Boulley, this is a powerful thriller that showcases the difference in treatment for tribal members and Native Americans.
Her whole life, Daunis Fontaine has never felt like she fit in. She’s biracial, and while everyone knows who her father is, she is not an enrolled tribal member. Still, she has hopes and dreams despite feeling out of place.
All of which is put in danger when she realizes what is happening to her hometown. It’s thanks to a murder that Daunis is even aware of the truth, and her closeness to the situation forces her to agree to go undercover. All in hopes of finding the truth.
“When someone dies, everything about them becomes past tense, except for the grief. Grief stays in the present. It’s even worse when you’re angry at the person. Not just for dying. But for how.”
Is it possible for a novel to be both everything and nothing like what you expected? If so, that is Firekeeper’s Daughter in a nutshell. Calling it a young adult thriller would not do justice for this read; I can tell you that much.
This novel pulls in many different elements, including a perspective that I know I personally have not read enough of. The combination of thriller, mystery, and Native American elements was absolutely fascinating and brought the tale to a whole new level.
As did Daunis’ brilliant personality. She’s fierce and bold (she’d have to be to be a top hockey athlete), but she’s also amazingly compassionate and willing to do anything for those that she loves. Including put her life on the line, as the case may be.
“We love imperfect people. We can love them and not condone their actions and beliefs.”
I’m not going to lie; there were parts of this novel that completely broke me. I couldn’t believe how far this novel burrowed into my heart and soul. It’s safe to say that I became very invested in what happened to Daunis and her small hometown.
I do want to mention that Firekeeper’s Daughter deals with a lot of heavy and intense subjects. There’s drug use, addiction, and overdoses, for one. There’s also plenty of room for discussion surrounding prejudice and discrimination, and one especially shocking moment that will hit readers hard. At least, I know it hit very hard for this reader. It’s perhaps not a moment that should have shocked me (if I’m brutally honest here), but it somehow did anyway.
I have to give Angeline Boulley so much credit for tackling such an expansive read. There’s a lot to unpack from Firekeeper’s Daughter, and I can only imagine how difficult it was to write at times. I cannot wait to see what comes next from this author.
Thanks to Henry, Holt & Co. and #BookishFirst for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.