I remember distinctly being quite put off by this novel within the first few pages. The protagonist's voice seemed immature to me, and as someone who is a somewhat recent college graduate, this voice did not seem representative of a first-year college student. However, once I got over this particular hump, the rest of the book sucked me in.
Angeline Boulley writes from experience as an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians as she illustrates a picture of her Ojibwe community in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. I became immersed in their traditions, culture, and natural medicine. Besides a choice few characters, I loved the community members and Daunis' interactions with them, especially the elders.
As someone who is interested in the medical field, Daunis's interest in medicine and science resonated with me. However, the similarity ends there. Daunis suffers from not-like-other-girls syndrome, and she is constantly spewing medical facts which is behavior more representative of someone who is already in a medical program, and even then it's a bit much. Frankly, no one names off all the bones in their left arm when they're feeling a pinch stressed, not even medical students. That being said, I did like how Daunis's biracial identity as half white, half indigenous was approached and discussed, and her internal monologue seemed very realistic.
The thriller aspect of the book was quite gripping, although the twists were not so twisty. However, if you don't like the FBI plot, don't worry because there are about 5 million other subplots for you to follow!
Ultimately, I think this book is a significant read as it broadcasts the host of issues that many indigenous folks, in particular indigenous women, grapple with. Although there should be a list of trigger warnings nailed to the cover, Boulley handles them with a certain finesse. I'm looking forward to watching the Netflix series and reading further installments!
trigger warning: drug addiction, suicide, murder, assault, rape, fatphobia, death of a loved one, and I'm sure there are many more which will pop up with a quick google search.