Book Review//Firekeeper’s Daughter

Firekeeper’s Daughter By Angeline Boulley

Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley book cover

As a biracial, unenrolled tribal member and the product of a scandal, Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in—both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. When her family is struck by tragedy, Daunis puts her dreams on hold to care for her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother’s hockey team.

After Daunis witnesses a shocking murder that thrusts her into a criminal investigation, she agrees to go undercover. But the deceptions—and deaths—keep piling up and soon the threat strikes too close to home. How far will she go to protect her community if it means tearing apart the only world she’s ever known?

My Thoughts

Trigger Warnings: meth addiction, murder, grief, mourning, kidnapping, mention of a drug overdose, rape, suicide.

I would say that this book leans more toward an older Young Adult audience because of the topics mentioned (see trigger warnings mentioned above). This would be a good book to read for Young Adult readers who are wanting to transition into adult books, or adult readers looking for a more advanced Young Adult novel. I went into this book blind (didn’t read the synopsis and stayed away from spoilers), and it gave me a better experience.  There is so much to talk about, but it would give away a lot of the second half of this book.

I can see why Firekeeper’s Daughter was all over my Bookstagram when it came out last year – it was hard for me to put it down, and I stayed up until 2 AM finishing it. I’m glad I waited until now to read it – I read it in a few days and I can’t stop thinking about it.

While this novel takes place in the early 2000s in Sault St. Marie Michigan amongst the Native American Ojibwe community, it’s still relevant to the issues that are faced in Indigenous communities today. It’s such a stunning debut, and I can’t wait to see what Boulley publishes next.

The first half of Firekeeper’s Daughter introduces the reader to  Daunis Fontaine, the 18-year-old main female protagonist. We get more information about her friends and family, and her relationship with them including her half-brother Levi, her mother, and her badass Aunt Teddie (who I thought was amazing. I want an Aunt like her!) This set-up to establish the plot and to introduce us to Daunis was well done – I really understood the community and the relationship Daunis had with everyone. She was well-developed and it helped in the second half of the novel when things picked up.

While Daunis was well-developed and I immediately liked her, I had a hard time connecting and liking Jamie. I thought his character fell flat and wasn’t as strongly developed as Daunis, or even Levi. Maybe this was intention on Boulley’s part, but this was what knocked the rating down from almost a 5-cup read.

I flew through the second half – once Boulley established the relationships, the setting, and everything the reader needed to know, the plot picked up. I could hardly put the book down, I kept thinking about it well after I finished the novel.

Firekeeper’s Daughter shows how much care, time, and thought went into crafting Daunis and the characters. It brings forth the Anishinaabe people and the issues they face on a daily basis. There are such complex and strong characters in this novel, you can feel the love and care Boulley put into this novel and crafting a strong community around her main character. 

Four cups of tea on this one – no tea pairing because I don’t have a tea that fits this book.

Let me know if you’ve read this book in the comments below!

Cups of Tea:


Publisher:  Henry, Holt, and Co.

Published: March 16, 2021

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