A Fantastic, 5 Star Debut

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A fantastic debut.

If you only talk about Firekeeper's Daughter as a YA thriller, you’re missing half the book. That’s just the plot. Yes, an 18-year old biracial Anishinaabe woman gets pulled into an FBI investigation into the drug trade in her community and falls for the new guy on her brother’s hockey team. She’s a solid hockey player in her own right and a science nerd.

But within that story, Angeline Boulley's debut paints a vivid picture of what it is to be a biracial Native American woman. With Daunis, we get a clear sense of how her Anishinaabe culture, traditions, and community ground her daily life; how she balances and code switches between her white and Nish families; and how she's torn between heading to college, but knowing she has a responsibility to her community. As a biracial person, it’s incredibly relatable.

On the one hand, it’s a love letter to Anishinaabe traditions, but Boulley also lays bare the long-term impacts of colonization; racism and bigotry; politics within indigenous communities; the way the federal government’s actions have contributed to corruption and the meth epidemic, and relegated indigenous communities, especially their women, to second, even third-class citizen status.

FIrekeeper's Daughter is powerful and candid with rich characters and a compelling case to unravel. I can't wait to see it brought to the small screen.

It’s YA, but it’s definitely for older teens. CW: Sexual assault, gun violence, murder, grief, drug trafficking