Isabella Star LaBlanc brings an authentic-sounding narration to this powerful audiobook. Set amid state and tribal lands in Michigan, the story of Daunis, who is caught between these two cultures, is told with heartfelt compassion. LaBlanc masterfully amplifies Daunis’s apprehension when she becomes involved in helping the FBI investigate a new, deadly street drug. Thriller, romance, and action-adventure with multifaceted character development—this debut has it all. LaBlanc rises to the challenge, bringing listeners into the mind of this clever and courageous young woman. Dialogue, including words in other languages, is handled with effortless transitions and clear depictions between characters. This audiobook should not be missed. S.K.G. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, 2021 Best Audiobook, 2022 Audies Finalist © AudioFile 2021, Portland, Maine
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Debut author Angeline Boulley has crafted an immersive and heart-stopping thriller told through the eyes of 18-year-old Daunis, a biracial, unenrolled member of the Ojibwe tribe. With crystal meth abuse on the rise in her community, Daunis uses her knowledge of science and native medicine to go undercover as a confidential informant with the FBI, but what she uncovers makes her question everything she’s ever known. Boulley’s authentic depictions of the complexities of Native communities and the trauma and strength of Native women, specifically, make this book a complete standout for YA and adult readers alike.
"Isabella Star LaBlanc brings an authentic-sounding narration to this powerful audiobook...Dialogue, including words in other languages, is handled with effortless transitions and clear depictions between characters. This audiobook should not be missed." -- AudioFile Magazine, Earphones Award winner
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
For fans of Angie Thomas and Tommy Orange, 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.
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.
A 2021 Kids' Indie Next List Selection
An Amazon Best Book of the Month for March Selection
An Entertainment Weekly Most Anticipated Books of 2021 Selection
A PopSugar Best March 2021 YA Book Selection
A Macmillan Audio production from Henry Holt and Company
"The text is filled with Ojibwe phrases and traditions that Native American reader LaBlanc (Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota) handles with ease. Her voice is young and earnest and her fluency adds to the portrayal of Daunis...It's a tale filled with suspense, and LaBlanc's sensitive reading will keep listeners plugged in." -- Booklist, starred review
"Expert narration from Isabella Star LeBlanc, a Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota, brings authenticity to Daunis's joy, anger, fear, and grief while providing distinct voices for the supporting cast, including the tribal elders. LeBlanc's captivating voice draws readers in, expressing every mundane, sweet, heartbreaking, and life-threatening moment." -- School Library Journal, starred review
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With sharp turns and charming characters, this debut thriller by Annishinabe author Boulley centers 18-year-old Daunis Fontaine, who loves and fits into her community but yearns for official citizenship in the Sault tribe. Science-minded Daunis had planned on going away for college, but after her uncle overdoses on meth and her grandmother has a stroke, she stays closer to her Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., home, negotiating a complex familial situation having to do with her deceased Annishinabe father. After witnessing her best friend’s murder by her meth-reliant boyfriend, she begins looking into the mounting local meth overdoses, using her knowledge of chemistry as well as traditional plants and medicine to source the drug and, amid growing danger, reveal its seller. Featuring prolific use of Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe language), this wonderfully tribally specific story offers powerful messages about what it can mean to be an Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman): “complex and sometimes exhausted, but mostly brave.” 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. Ages 14–up. Author’s agent: Faye Bender, the Book Group. (Mar.)
"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
Gr 9 Up—This fast-paced debut crime thriller will keep readers on edge until the final chapters. For all of her life, Daunis Fontaine has straddled two worlds, that of her white mother's family and that of her Native father's. Daunis splits her time between her home near the Canadian border and the nearby Ojibwe reservation. After the death of her beloved uncle and an injury that ends her college and Olympic hockey dreams, Daunis is preparing to begin classes at the local college with her best friend, Lily. Her plans shift dramatically after she witnesses Lily's murder. Daunis becomes an informant for the FBI about a new meth superdrug with connections to the reservation. As she digs deep into both her communities, she unravels dark secrets that some are willing to kill to keep buried. She also struggles to maintain the fake relationship she begins with the newest hockey recruit, and undercover agent, as their feelings transform into something real. Boulley, an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, deftly weaves tribal information into the multiple mysteries, providing background knowledge that explains not only justice and jurisdiction but also cultural traditions relating to daily life, celebrations, and grief. Expert narration from Isabella Star LeBlanc, a Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota, brings authenticity to Daunis's joy, anger, fear, and grief while providing distinct voices for the supporting cast, including the tribal elders. LeBlanc's captivating voice draws readers in, expressing every mundane, sweet, heartbreaking, and life-threatening moment. VERDICT The multiple languages spoken by characters in this book are best heard spoken aloud, making this a must-buy audiobook for any high school or public library.—Courtney Pentland, Omaha, NE
Gr 9 Up—This #OwnVoices novel is a character-driven crime thriller packed with Ojibwe culture and high-stakes tension with themes of identity, trust, and resilience. The journey of 18-year-old Daunis Fontaine is told in four parts overlaid by the four directions of Ojibwe medicine wheel teachings. Daunis should be focused on a fresh start at college after her uncle's untimely death. She is sucked back into the world of ice hockey and starts slowly falling for Jamie, one of her brother's new teammates. Soon she finds herself living two disparate lives: one as a loving daughter, niece, and granddaughter in her family and tribal community, and one as a confidential informant to the FBI as they investigate a deadly new drug. She dangerously furthers the investigation on her own after witnessing a murder, and ultimately must choose between protecting the people she loves or protecting her tribal community. Native cultural aspects, such as the central role of Elders in tribal life, the special relationship between aunts and nieces, and decentering of the individual in favor of the tribe are included, as are some darker aspects of life including drugs, violence, and sexual assault. Daunis, Jamie, and other characters are fleshed out, relatable, and believable, and Daunis's journey to become a strong Ojibwe woman is compelling. VERDICT A strong crime fiction addition to any library, educators will find this text useful in discussions of character growth, social justice, and Native issues.—Kara Stewart (Sappony), Literacy Coach & Reading Specialist
Testing the strength of family bonds is never easy—and lies make it even harder.
Daunis is trying to balance her two communities: The Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, teen is constantly adapting, whether she is with her Anishinaabe father’s side of the family, the Firekeepers, or the Fontaines, her White mother’s wealthy relatives. She has grand plans for her future, as she wants to become a doctor, but has decided to defer her plans to go away for college because her maternal grandmother is recovering from a stroke. Daunis spends her free time playing hockey with her Firekeeper half brother, Levi, but tragedy strikes, and she discovers someone is selling a dangerous new form of meth—and the bodies are piling up. While trying to figure out who is behind this, Daunis pulls away from her family, covering up where she has been and what she has been doing. While dealing with tough topics like rape, drugs, racism, and death, this book balances the darkness with Ojibwe cultural texture and well-crafted characters. Daunis is a three-dimensional, realistically imperfect girl trying her best to handle everything happening around her. The first-person narration reveals her internal monologue, allowing readers to learn what’s going on in her head as she encounters anti-Indian bias and deals with grief.
A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status. (Thriller. 14-18)