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Thursday, August 05, 2021

Buzzy YA Mystery/Thriller an Engrossing, Satisfying Read

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Half Ojibwe and half white, 18-year-old Daunis Fontaine is used to walking the line between her mixed identities and cultures.  As an unenrolled tribal member, she's not quite part of the Native world.  As a Native, she's not exactly immersed in the white world either.  It shouldn't matter, but it does, especially in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.  That's why Daunis can't wait to escape to college in Ann Arbor, where she can start studying for her medical degree.  A family emergency has delayed her plans, but it won't be forever.  Soon, she'll be able to break free.  In the meantime, she'll continue volunteering at the rec center, working on her hockey game, and trying not to fall under the spell of the hot new guy on the rink.  

When Daunis witnesses a murder, it shakes up her careful plans.  Suddenly, she finds herself in the middle of an FBI investigation centering on a dangerous new drug.  Reluctantly agreeing to go undercover in order to help, she's thrust into a dangerous world that could put everything she's worked for and dreamed of at risk.  She's dedicated to helping her community, but at what cost?  People are dying around her; Daunis does not want to be next.  As shocking revelations come to light, she learns some startling truths about her family, her friends, and the clashing worlds that combine to make her who she is.  Will her life ever be the same again?

Firekeeper's Daughter, a debut novel by Angeline Boulley, has been receiving massive buzz ever since it came out in March.  And no wonder.  It tells a sweeping, multi-faceted story set against the backdrop of a unique, complex community.  With its intimate look at Ojibwe customs and mythology, it feels more layered, more expansive than other teen thrillers.  That being said, the mystery at its core is compelling, with enough twists to keep it interesting.  Yes, I saw some of the story swerves coming and yes, elements of the tale seem far-fetched, but neither detracts much from this absorbing page-turner.  The characters are colorful and well-drawn (with the exception of Jamie, who's pretty blah for a leading man).  Boulley's prose is skilled and assured.  The plotting is tight and taut.  All things considered, I quite enjoyed this buzzy #OwnVoices novel.  Pretty sure I'm not the only one who's waiting anxiously to see what Boulley does next!

(Readalikes:  Reminds me a little of the Wind River Reservation mystery series by Margaret Coel and Hearts of the Missing by Carol Potenza)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language (a dozen or so F-bombs, plus milder expletives), violence, depictions of underage drinking/partying, depictions of illegal drug use, sexual content (including a rape scene), and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of Firekeeper's Daughter with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.

5 comments:

  1. This sounds good. Young adult readers are so lucky to have such good books, and so many titles, directed at them these days.

    BTW, I've really come to love your new look.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Firekeeper's Daughter sounds great.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I just love seeing your new blog every time I come here!

    I have this on my TBR shelf and hope to read it in September.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This sounds like a good read! I hadn't heard much about it before, but I'll have to check it out.

    ReplyDelete

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