Firekeeper's Daughter - book cover
Literature & Fiction
  • Publisher : Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Published : 16 Mar 2021
  • Pages : 496
  • ISBN-10 : 1250766567
  • ISBN-13 : 9781250766564
  • Language : English

Firekeeper's Daughter


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.

Editorial Reviews

"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...

Readers Top Reviews

A. Boulley
I am not Anishinaabe, but my daughter is and is enrolled in the same tribe as her auntie Angeline. I first learned of Daunis over ten years ago when Angeline shared her story with family and friends. She fine tuned the characters and story when she had time over the years, but always knew she'd share it with the world someday. I knew that much of the story had changed, but upon reading this final copy I was so so happy that the essence of the characters remained true to the first draft. I couldn't put it down the first time and again, I couldn't put it down this time either. I can appreciate now all the editing and rewrites she was doing and am so proud of the way she weaves the tale so masterfully. So, yes, you can say I am biased, but I also can say I don't have as much time to read these days like I used to and I am so glad I was able to devour this book in two days time. I am now going to purchase the audible version because I want to be able to pronounce the language introduced throughout that I can then share with my 7 year old who will grow up with books that will intrigue her to learn more about that side of herself. I need to also add that some of the wisdom shared about love is something many cultures don't do enough of to prepare young women (and men) for their journey through life. I hope that many young women and some older like myself will read this and gather that wisdom to apply to their own lives. It's not preachy at all, it's truth!
Jessica Schmit
"Some boats are for the river and some are for the ocean." This book was just amazing, pure and simple. It follows Daunis, an Ojibwe teenager, as she works with the FBI to investigate a lethal new drug, all the while managing her own grief and emotions. The book is YA, but on the upper edges of the genre, and reads as a standalone mystery novel. If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be "beautiful." This book is just phenomenal. I typically don't read contemporary fiction (I'm admittedly a fantasy reader), but I devoured this book in one sitting. The commentary on Native American tribal dynamics is poignant, uncomfortable, and NEEDED. The descriptions by Boulley are insightful, detailed, and beautifully written. The difficulties faced by tribal members, including drugs, sexual assault, and general bigotry is so relevant and I'm so glad it wasn't glossed over or romanticized. This story stuck with me and hurt in the best ways. The characters are beautiful and flawed and so well developed. Daunis is a robust character, with understandable and relatable emotions and motivations. She is such a great person. A great daughter, sister, and friend. I highly, highly recommend this read to everyone. There is non-graphic sexual assault, drug use, and drug related death in this story, so if this is upsetting to you, please be prepared going in to this story.
Ashley Hubbard
Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley is a thrilling and stunning debut novel that is part crime fiction and part coming of age. Daunis Fontaine is 18 years old born to a Native father and a white mother. Daunis balances these two worlds better than I could ever expect to balance anything. She’s already seen a lot of heartbreak in her life with the recent passing of her uncle and her grandmother having a stroke, but she’s really handling it quite well. Despite the heartbreak, Daunis has a half-brother (through their father) who she is very close to, her best friend Lily, and her family and friends. Until one day when she’s the witness to a murder and through a series of events, becomes a CI (confidential informant) in order to bring justice and safety to her community. Boulley also grew up with a Native father and a non-Native mother on/near Sugar Island so she’s able to paint an authentic picture of not only the location, but Daunis. And, possibly more importantly – the ongoing issues that Native communities face including Indigenous women. I love how beautiful Boulley’s writing was while still bringing very real, very serious issues to the limelight. I received an eArc of this novel and when I finished the last page, I immediately went and pre-ordered a physical copy. That is how much I loved it.
C. Roll
I just finished this book. I know the author. She was a neighbor of mine for a few years. But that's not why I liked the book. Angeline clearly did her research on the problems of methamphetamine addiction and how it affects communities. I was engrossed in the book from the start because she's a wonderful storyteller. I liked getting to know Daunis, the protagonist. She's an appealing character. I live in Sault Ste. Marie, but I was not very knowledgeable about Ojibwe culture. I enjoyed learning more about it as an outsider. I look forward to the Netflix series that will be created from this book. And I look forward even more to Angeline's next book offering. I hope Daunis makes another appearance.
Stacie Kay Sheldon
This is the first time I have ever read a present-day story in a place familiar to me, with characters so familiar they might be real, and with the constant companion of the familiar sound of my heritage language. It is a delightful feeling that is hard to describe. Plus, as with the best of mysteries - I laughed out loud, I cried, and I stayed up too late wanting to know whodunnit. I also swelled with pride and hope at the sharing of Anishinaabe culture. The Seven Grandfather Teachings, the sacred fire following death, the profound connections to place, ceremony, the love for our Elders and our future generations, and so much more. Boulley took the best parts and the worst parts of how we live and know ourselves and somehow wove that into a tight braid of our total experience. The beautiful things and the terrible things. I’m just floored.