Strong debut, amazing book

filled star filled star filled star filled star filled star
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For a book that dwelt so often on liminal spaces, my feelings on Firekeeper's Daughter were anything but borderline. This was an absolutely phenomenal debut, and I cannot wait to see what further works Angeline Boulley writes in the future.

In today's society, we tend to view things through a very black-or-white lens, with little room for the in-between; through the character of Daunis, a girl of mixed white and Ojibwe descent, Boulley was able to highlight the fact that identities are not always so clear-cut, and that it is rarely (if ever) possible to separate those two components of an identity. Yes, this was a story about many things--a mystery, a drug bust thriller, a dash of romance, a reckoning with profound grief and community distress--but at its heart, it was a story of identity, and the sometimes-messy, always-strong Daunis was the perfect protagonist to propel the story forward.

A few other small things I loved:
- The integration of Anishinaabemowin words into the text, without outright defining them, allowing readers to feel a little bit of the same disconnect of being caught between worlds
- The way Daunis approached things from a very scientific mindset, applying rational methods and chemical analysis, but also fusing that with her traditional tribal knowledge and culture
- The ending not neatly tying everything up with a bow--it was a good conclusion, but did not feel artificial
- The setting in the early 2000's, which created a distinct sense of place that was not so far removed that we don't remember it, but that has some elements (e.g. presence of texting but lack of social media) that really drove the story in a way that a contemporary setting couldn't

This is a hugely important book--I honestly can only think of two other books by Native authors that I have read--and I am so glad it is getting widespread attention. (Side note: I can't wait for the Netflix adaptation! I hope they do it justice.)