A powerfully layered YA debut that adroitly balances a thrilling crime plot, a fake relationship, and a thoughtful exploration of identity and belonging. 18-year-old hockey star Daunis dreams of leaving her small community on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and making a fresh start in college. But after she witnesses a terrible crime, Daunis is persuaded to go undercover to nail the dealers whose deadly new drugs are ravaging her Anishinaabe community. While seeking justice for her best friend, Daunis also grapples with burgeoning feelings for her handsome hockey player crush and navigates often-tense relationships within her own family. (While sensitively handled, triggers abound, including murder, suicide, sexual assault, and racism.) Native American narrator Isabella Star LeBlanc’s brilliant performance captures the pulse-pounding first-person narrative drive and the new-to-me Ojibwe phrases and practices in this brilliant YA debut. Narrated by Isabella Star LeBlanc.
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.