Firekeeper's Daughter

Firekeeper's Daughter

Book - 2021
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Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, either in her hometown or on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. She dreams of college, 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, a new recruit on her brother Levi's hockey team. When Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, she reluctantly agrees to go undercover, drawing on her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the source of a new drug. How far will she go to protect her community, if it threatens to tear apart the only world she's ever known? -- adapted from jacket
Publisher: New York : Henry Holt and Company, 2021.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781250766564
1250766567
Branch Call Number: YF BOULLEY
Characteristics: 494 pages ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Fire keeper's daughter

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WPL_JessB Jun 17, 2021

This stunning, emotional read wasn't what I expected and I loved every page. Though marketed as YA, I definitely think it has great crossover appeal, and the author doesn't shy away from harsh or uncomfortable subjects. As a lead, Daunis was tough, loyal, and passionate and I loved that while there were typical relationship elements throughout the story, it was Daunis' relationship with her Indigenous community that took centre stage. Boulley also did a beautiful job of naturally interweaving Indigenous myths/ beliefs into the story, and they felt important to the plot, rather than an element that was sprinkled in as background knowledge. Read this book. Just read it.

This was so good. Emotionally resonant, culturally rich, and engaging as all get out. I was fully engrossed in this book basically from the first page. There's something about Angeline Boulley's writing that's accessible, authentic, and really just captures you and doesn't let you go. I felt like I was in Daunis's head, feeling everything she was, and a large part of that was how Angeline wrote her. I can't even put my finger on how or why, but Daunis leapt off the page for me. It dragged a bit in the middle for me, but overall, this is such a beautiful debut, and I'll read anything else this author puts out into the world.

This was so good. Emotionally resonant, culturally rich, and engaging as all get out.

Daunis Fontaine is biracial, not enrolled in her tribe in Sault Saint Marie nor fully a part of her high school community off the Ojibwe reservation. She lived and breathed hockey, until she quit a year ago after her uncle died and she had to care for her mother. Now, a new hockey player named Jamie has entered her life, and she is intrigued by him - but not enough to shift her focus from college and caring for her ailing grandmother. However, when tragedy strikes, it's revealed that Jamie is not who he says he is, and Daunis is thrust into the midst of an ongoing investigation and has to choose how to honour her community - and her heart.

I was fully engrossed in this book basically from the first page. There's something about Angeline Boulley's writing that's accessible, authentic, and really just captures you and doesn't let you go. I felt like I was in Daunis's head, feeling everything she was, and a large part of that was how Angeline wrote her. I can't even put my finger on how or why, but Daunis leapt off the page for me.

I didn't know much about the plot of this one going in, other than it was a "contemporary" - it's set in 2004, and I loved the infusion of 2000's pop culture in amongst everything else. I would classify this as a kind of mystery/thriller, but also contemporary fiction works, because beyond the action and suspense, the story is really about Daunis finding and choosing herself, and that's what makes it so resonant for me. Yes, there's an FBI investigation, yes, there's a romance, and yes, there's a lot of intense scenes, both action-wise and in terms of emotions.

But at the end of it all, this is about Daunis embracing her identity and how it manifests for her. She is whip-smart, in both Western science and her traditional healing methods. She is Ojibwe, and wants to embrace that, but she also wants to go to school and be a medical doctor and embrace healing her people that way. The ways that she learns how to do both of those things are so moving and are the heart of the story.

I liked all the twists and turns too, though, don't get me wrong. I was guessing the whole time at who was behind the meth ring, and every time there were tragic consequences, the stakes felt like they were upped even more.

I did find that there was a chunk of the middle here that dragged, which is why my rating stays at 4.5. I still wanted to read, but the tension waned a bit because of the loss of momentum.

I absolutely loved living in Daunis's world though. I loved learning about the Ojibwe culture and beliefs, and I loved Daunis as a character. This is such a beautiful debut, and I'll read anything else this author puts out into the world.

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TLCMom582
Jun 08, 2021

A fantastic debut novel that is as informative as it is suspenseful. I loved the pace of the novel and the surprises at the end. Daunis and Jamie were incredible characters. The native traditions and beliefs were very interesting and created the world in which Daunis lived. At first I was having a hard time getting into the book. But then...I got hooked.

I listened to the audio version of this book. The narration by Isabelle Star LaBlanc was very good.

WPL_Jaclyn Jun 08, 2021

Firekeeper's Daughter was a phenomenal novel. It's considered young adult, but there's huge crossover appeal for fans of mysteries and thrillers. This book was a rollercoster and I loved every minute of it even when Daunis experiences so much hardship. Daunis is 18 and has her life ahead of her. But when her best friend is murdered, Daunis finds out that the FBI is investigating meth production in her community, and her deceased uncle was a confidential informant. Daunis takes on that role and what she discovers both rips apart her community and pulls it back together. Daunis's grit and determination were so powerful and descriptive, I couldn't put this book down. Firekeeper's Daughter is a complex and layered thriller. There is so much to unpack here - addiction, inherited trauma, family, community. All I can say is that folks need to read this. The powerful language and sense of community that was part of this novel put me in mind of Frederick Backman's Beartown. While the writing styles were similar, fans of Beartown will find many parallels to Firekeeper's Daughter.

l
labraden
Jun 06, 2021

Daunis Fontaine has never been considered as a member of her tribe because her mother is white, but she has learned the ways of the elders and has practiced her tribe's customs all of her life. As the new hockey season begins, Jamie joins her brother's team and seems interested in dating Daunis. However, Jamie isn't who Daunis thinks he is because she finds out that he and his "uncle" are actually undercover agents trying to unearth a meth ring operating on the reservation. When Daunis's best friend is murdered right in front of her, she agrees to join the investigation as a confidential informant and as Jamie's "girlfriend." Secrets and lies lead to devastating information that changes Daunis's life forever.

Fire Keeper's Daughter is labeled as a young adult novel, but should be listed as new adult due to the overwhelmingly adult content including kidnapping, sex, drug and alcohol abuse, rape, and murder. Even though the mystery and romance are engaging, the story seems overloaded with details, slowing down the pace of the book. While the characters are well developed, the number of characters makes it difficult to follow along at times. Overall, Fire Keeper's Daughter is a well written book with more elements than necessary to make it an excellent story.

JessicaGma May 27, 2021

I had high hopes coming for this story and it delivered! It's a thrilling tale set in Michigan featuring smart as a whip Daunis who doesn't quite fit into her Sault tribe. She almost left for university, but after a couple of family tragedies, she's staying close to home. Things get out of hand quickly after her best friend gets murdered right in front of Daunis, and well, you have to read to the end to see what happens. An excellent #OwnVoices book for all ages!

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NadiaHathor
May 18, 2021

Firstly, this book has the most visually stunning, dynamic, mystical, and nuanced cover of the year by Indigenous Artist Moses Lunham! The Author, Angeline set out to Write an Indigenous Nancy Drew tale and she accomplished and surpassed that goal by Creating a sublime, Heart pounding, edge of your seat, can't stop reading late into the night Thriller. The almost 19-year-old Mixed Race Female protagonist is practicing being Emotionally Intelligent while figuring out her individual and collective identity. As she actively works at being her best possible self, she consistently engages her innate and learned intelligence, shrewdness, courage, and wisdom. By following Ojibwe Traditions in a Spiritual and pragmatic manner that is inspiring, authentic, and captures you from the first page. This novel is beyond YA, and any age group, culture, and or gender would relish this Storytelling feast. I'm so looking forward to seeing the characters come to life on the small screen and am super excited by her upcoming second book.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Apr 07, 2021

So so good. A mystery/thriller set in the upper Michigan peninsula...full of loving Ojibwe cultural representation. An amazing, tough, prickly-but-loveable hockey playing lead character reminiscent of The Hate You Give's Starr.

AlishaH_KCMO Mar 23, 2021

Trigger Warning(s): Meth addiction, murder, grief, mourning, kidnapping, mention of drug overdose

The Fire Keeper's Daughter is about a young woman, Daunis Fontaine, who, after witnessing a murder, goes undercover for the FBI to expose those trafficking drugs into the Ojibwe community. Even though she never truly felt like she belonged, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she'll go to protect her community.

Oh wow, this is definitely moving into my Top 10 favorite book list for sure! I know it took me a bit longer to read than when I devour other books I love, but besides a few things happening in my personal life, I felt like this book deserved reading and fully understanding. Angeline Boulley writes about Native American culture and heritage, and because there are simply far too little stories being told by and about Native Americans, I felt like it deserves all the attention I could give it to fully understand. This book shines a light on Anishinaabe people and issues that they, and many other Indigenous communities will see themselves reflected in.

I was hooked on this novel within the first few pages - something about the way Boulley wrote Daunis' voice and narrative really caught me. And it stayed that way through the entire novel. This will be one I will be revisiting for sure and one that I will be recommending to everyone I know as well.

I would say this to be a New YA crime fiction. It has elements of YA in it, but also of Adult Fiction as well (hence the New YA part). Don't let the YA part of it scare you away though! This is something I would suggest going into it as blind as you can, regardless of your age. Like I said before, I'm going to be shoving it in as many people's hands as I possibly can.

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OPL_KrisC Apr 21, 2021

OPL_KrisC thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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Jamie is right - I know science and Ojibwe culture. I also know that I am strong enough to do this. There is one more thing I know…My definition of being a good Secret Squirrel is not the same as theirs.
Maybe there isn’t one investigation taking place, but two.
Theirs. And mine.
I sign the agreement.

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