Firekeeper's Daughter is a thriller. We know on the first page, when we’re given a glimpse of what’s to come - a revolver pointed at our narrator's face, but the novel doesn't happen at break-neck speed. It's the very personal story of Daunis Fontaine just after her high school graduation. It's deliberate, like her talent for science, and strong, like her ability to play varsity hockey with the boys. She was born a scandal, but her wealthy, white, sixteen-year-old mother insisted on keeping her Ojibwe father’s family in her life. Daunis balances two worlds, loved by both and never completely fitting with either. Now she’s ready for college, looking to be a doctor in the safe world her money and light skin allow her. It's a life her father's Firekeeper family wouldn't expect to have, and things aren't going as planned. Daunis will fight through traumatic losses and walk straight into danger to protect her people, all while pretending she's not falling in love. She's an impressive character, with a toughness and raw honesty that I wish I had. It’s a powerful teen novel, an eye-opening experience, and I learned so many cultural lessons as I was being drawn into the suspense. This is sure to be one of my top books of 2021!— Tim McCarthy
Firekeeper’s Daughter is one of those books written for teens that adult readers must make a point not to miss. The plot moves along just like the very best of thrillers, and the characters are nuanced and believable. Main character Daunis Fontaine is biracial, with a white mom and a Native American dad who together caused quite the scandal, but they separated before Danius was even born. Now, as a teen, she’s welcomed by both her Anishinaabe and white families, and yet is not wholly part of either culture. When her best friend is murdered, and it’s clear that a new form of meth is devastating the tribe, Daunis is approached by law enforcement agents to go undercover to investigate where the drug is coming from. With her knowledge of chemistry and native plants, she’s clever and curious enough to take the investigation in her own direction. Along the way, she gets caught up in a pretend romance that starts to feel very real with an officer disguised as a high school student. With all the difficulties in her life, the relationship added just the right amount of sweetness to the novel. Ultimately, this is a story of community, which made a betrayal from within feel all the more soul crushing. But trust that a writer as talented as Angeline Boulley can, somehow, also leave us with hope.— Jenny Chou
Spring 2021 Kids Indie Next List
“This debut grabbed me from the start and kept me totally immersed in the story of a strong, self-described nerdy young female struggling with the normal problems of belonging, with the added element of being half Native American. This novel offers a rich combination of a young person’s struggle with identity plus the unique challenges of being associated with a tribe and the problems of meth use and addiction. Add in a pulse-pounding mystery on top of it, and you have a true page-turner.”
— Carol Putnam, Skylark Bookshop, Columbia, MO
A REESE WITHERSPOON x HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK CLUB YA PICK
An Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller
Soon to be adapted at Netflix for TV with President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama's production company, Higher Ground.
“One of this year's most buzzed about young adult novels.” —Good Morning America
A TIME Magazine Best YA Book of All Time Selection
Amazon's Best YA Book of 2021 So Far (June 2021)
A 2021 Kids' Indie Next List Selection
An Entertainment Weekly Most Anticipated Books of 2021 Selection
A PopSugar Best March 2021 YA Book Selection
With four starred reviews, Angeline Boulley's debut novel, Firekeeper's Daughter, is a groundbreaking YA thriller about a Native teen who must root out the corruption in her community, perfect for readers of Angie Thomas and Tommy Orange.
Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. She dreams of a fresh start at college, but when family tragedy strikes, Daunis puts her future on hold to look after her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team.
Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug.
Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, drawing on her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the source. But the search for truth is more complicated than Daunis imagined, exposing secrets and old scars. At the same time, she grows concerned with an investigation that seems more focused on punishing the offenders than protecting the victims.
Now, as the deceptions—and deaths—keep growing, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go for her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.
About the Author
Angeline Boulley, an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, is a storyteller who writes about her Ojibwe community in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. She is a former Director of the Office of Indian Education at the U.S. Department of Education. Angeline lives in southwest Michigan, but her home will always be on Sugar Island. Firekeeper's Daughter is her debut novel.
"This is one bold, uncompromising and elegantly crafted debut." —Courtney Summers, New York Times-bestselling author of Sadie
"Intricate and moving. Boulley takes the reader on an incredible journey with the assurance of a veteran novelist." —Tochi Onyebuchi, award-winning author of Beasts Made of Night and Riot Baby
“A rare and mesmerizing work that blends the power of a vibrant tradition with the aches and energy of today’s America. This book will leave you breathless!” —Francisco X. Stork, acclaimed author of Marcelo in the Real World and Illegal
"A crime suspense fiction [with] a lot of layers, Indigenous culture, and it's really beautifully written." —Georgia Hardstark, co-host of My Favorite Murder podcast
"[An] absolute powerhouse of a debut." —NPR
“Another YA novel that’s absolutely page-turning required reading for adults...Our heroine is so smart, so thoughtful, and so good.” —Glamour
"Raw and moving. . . Boulley has crafted a nuanced and refreshing protagonist." —Cosmopolitan
"Sure to be on one of the year's best YA novels" —POPSUGAR
"A gorgeous insight into Anishinaabe culture and a page-turning YA thriller with a healthy dose of romance thrown in, Firekeeper’s Daughter hits all of the right notes." —Hypable
"Immersive and enthralling, Firekeeper’s Daughter plunges the reader into a community and a landscape enriched by a profound spiritual tradition. Full of huge characters and spellbinding scenes, it gives a fascinating insight into life on and off the reservation, with Daunis as a tough and resourceful heroine through every vicissitude." —Financial Times
"Hitting hard when it comes to issues such as citizenship, language revitalization, and the corrosive presence of drugs on Native communities, this novel will long stand in the hearts of both Native and non-Native audiences." —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Though Firekeeper’s Daughter contains gripping action sequences and gasp-inducing twists, it’s Daunis’ mission of self-discovery, which begins as a low and steady growl and grows to a fierce, proud roar, that has the most impact... Though it both shocks and thrills, in the end, what leaves you breathless is Firekeeper’s Daughter’s blazing heart." —BookPage, Starred Review
"Boulley, herself an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, writes from a place of love for her community and shares some key teachings from her culture, even mixing languages within the context of the story. She doesn't shy away from or sugar-coat the very real circumstances that plague reservations across the country, and she tackles these through her biracial hero who gets involved in the criminal investigation into the corruption that led to this pain. An incredible thriller, not to be missed." —Booklist, Starred Review
"This suspenseful upper-YA novel will keep readers wondering who Daunis can trust." —Horn Book, Starred Review
"A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status." —Kirkus Reviews
"A character-driven crime thriller packed with Ojibwe culture and high-stakes tension with themes of identity, trust, and resilience." —School Library Journal
"A perfectly calibrated pace and a constantly shifting list of suspects keep the tension high." —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books