Firekeeper's Daughter

By Angeline Boulley,

Book cover of Firekeeper's Daughter

Book description



An Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller

Soon to be adapted at Netflix for TV with President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama's production…

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Why read it?

9 authors picked Firekeeper's Daughter as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I'm a few years late to the party on this one, but Firekeeper’s Daughter was every bit as good as I'd been led to believe.

I love books that introduce me to people and cultures I have no experience with, and Firekeeper’s Daughter thoroughly immersed me in modern Ojibwe life. But this book is so much more than a transportive travelogue; it's also a gripping thriller and a searing indictment of how we treat missing Indigenous women.

(And don't miss the companion novel, Warrior Girl Unearthed, which came out earlier this year!)

When I picked up Angeline Boulley’s Firekeeper’s Daughter for a book club, I had zero idea what to expect. In fact, I thought it was a fantasy book! Imagine my surprise when I discovered it was about a female hockey player in the early 2000s caught in a criminal investigation about the murder of her best friend.

The main character, Daunis Fontaine, straddles worlds between her mother’s white family and her late father’s Ojibwe family, and the clashes between these two different communities are striking—and haunting. As the story unfolds, Daunis unearths how drugs are devastating the Ojibwe community…

This book is about an eighteen-year-old named Daunis Fontaine who is torn between her mother's family in Sault St. Marie, Michigan, and her father's on the Ojibwa reservation. She loves both and wants to honor each, yet she feels she doesn't belong to either.

I appreciated this story for how it drew me into the culture and issues of present-day Native American youth. Boulley weaves a beautifully written tale with words and sentences that bring her story to life. 

The high stakes and tension in Firekeeper’s Daughter had me on the edge of my seat in the same way as The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas.

Daunis Fontaine, an Ojibwe teenager, becomes an informant for the FBI to find the source of a recreational drug that threatens her tribal community. I love teens cast into reluctant heroine roles and felt like I was getting an inside glimpse into the cultural identity of a Native teen from a reliable narrator.

Even though I’d consider this a crime thriller, the prose is so poetic that I copied many beautiful phrases…

My sister-in-law recommended this book to me, and I fell headlong into its pages.

It took me deep into a world and culture I knew nothing about and made me feel like I’d lived there my whole life. And in the process, it opened my mind to see the problems faced by people in that world, the complexities and beauties of it all. It is the best kind of education in social justice.

I was so inspired by how Angeline Boulley built her characters and their world around deep cultural strength. Many of the characters are grounded in their culture in a way that feels organic and true.

It is validating, and but also aspirational for many of us trying to understand what it means to be Native American today. I also appreciate how this book touched on other aspects of identity, such as the double-edged sword we all walk when it comes to skin color.

Firekeeper's Daughter is a YA novel, but as someone who identifies as older than “YA,” I still found myself compelled by the mysterious circumstances and complications in the life of 18-year-old Daunis Fontaine.

Daunis is bi-racial, torn between the white community and nearby Ojibwe reservation that she is a member of. As she is drawn into unsolved deaths in her community, she also finds herself compelled to spend time with new, handsome boy in town, and the two of them work together to uncover larger forces at play.

I recommend you give it a read now, before it hits Netflix…

The main character in this book is bicultural, white American and Native, but I really related to the way the author shows what it’s like to belong to two cultures that don’t necessarily understand each other—and the way someone can become a bridge between cultures because of that. I also really appreciated the main character’s struggles with the expectations people have of her based on what she looks like, which doesn’t match the fullness of her cultural identity.

From Christine's list on the third-culture kid experience.

Angeline Boulley, Ojibwe, is the current rock star of young adult crime writers. Her book, Firekeeper's Daughter, is setting the literary world on fire. She is a hit not just in indian country but across the country. I met Angeline at the Kweli Writer’s Conference; a gathering to ‘nurture emerging writers of color and create opportunities for their voices to be recognized and valued.’ At the time I had one novel published and a handful of children’s non-fiction. She was working on developing and finding an agent/publisher for the Firekeeper's Daughter. All the right pieces fell into the…

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