Spring 2021 Kids Indie Next List
— Carol Putnam, Skylark Bookshop, Columbia, MO
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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.
Praise For Firekeeper's Daughter…
"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
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), 9781250766564, 496pp.
Publication Date: March 16, 2021
About the Author
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
1. Daunis starts every day with a prayer and a morning run. What is the significance of ritual to Daunis? What other rituals does she engage in?
2. Daunis talks about keeping her various “worlds” separate, saying, “My life goes more smoothly when Hockey World and Real World don’t overlap. Same as with my Fontaine and Firekeeper worlds.” What are ways in which we see Daunis acting to keep her worlds separate? Do you think she feels a stronger connection to one world or the other? Do you agree it’s easier to keep worlds separate?
3. Daunis often seeks wisdom and guidance from the Elders. How does the role of the Elders compare to the role of senior citizens in your community?
4. Both Daunis and Jamie struggle with their identities—while Daunis feels torn between many, Jamie doesn’t have any sense of where he comes from. Are there similarities in the way they consider their identities? Differences?
5. Aunt Teddie describes a Blanket Party as “Nish Kwe justice.” What do you think of this form of justice and how Blanket Parties were created? How do you think this might influence Daunis’s understanding of justice?
6. Teddie tells Daunis, “Not every Elder is a cultural teacher and not all cultural teachers are Elders. It’s okay to listen to what people say and only hold onto the parts that resonate with you. It’s okay to leave the rest behind. Trust yourself to know the difference.” What does Teddie mean? What does Daunis choose to hold onto and leave behind from her culture?
7. Describe Daunis’s feelings after she learns that her testimony can’t be used in the court. Why do you believe the author made this choice?
8. Why did the author choose to end the story on a powwow scene? How does this speak to the themes of the book?
9. Daunis references the Seven Grandfather teachings throughout the novel—Love, Humility, Respect, Honesty, Bravery, Wisdom, and Truth. Are there characters or moments that help Daunis learn and embody these teachings?