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The Firekeeper’s Daughter
Debut author Angeline Boulley crafts a groundbreaking YA thriller about a Native teen who must root out the corruption in her community, for readers of Angie Thomas and Tommy Orange.
As a biracial, unenrolled tribal member and the product of a scandal, eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. Daunis dreams of studying medicine, but when her family is struck by tragedy, she puts her future on hold to care for 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, certain details don’t add up and she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into the heart of a criminal investigation.
Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, but secretly pursues her own investigation, tracking down the criminals with her knowledge of chemistry and traditional medicine. But the deceptions—and deaths—keep piling up and soon the threat strikes too close to home.
Now, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go to protect her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.
-Excerpt taken from Goodreads
Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.
“Love honors your spirit. Not just the other persons but your own spirit too.”
(4 / 5) I would classify this as New Adult Crime Fiction. However, it’s also a love story, a story about family, a cultural story and everything in between.
Boulley does an amazing job of weaving beautiful aspects of Daunis’ culture with her hockey life but also coming to terms with who she is. I was able to learn more about Indigenous people and culture which I loved. I wanted even more but enjoyed every aspect of the story.
Daunis is a force. She is strong, smart, loyal and knows what she wants and how to get it. People in her life have helped her to be strong and I loved her connection to them whether alive or not.
I recommend going in blind! I did not know what I was in for and that made it all the sweeter.
Content Summary: This book is largely about meth in a community. Many teens partake and cook the meth. Along with the meth, it deals with violence, deaths (murder), sex (mostly of 18+), language, rape, abuse and kidnapping. As I said previously, I believe it to be more New Adult which is 18+ but it is labeled as 16+. The experiences the main characters are having are in college and being undercover for the police and more. It definitely deals with more mature subjects and is a heavy but powerful read. I referred to the main character as a young woman throughout (mostly for fluidity) but she was either 18 or 19 at the time.
Thank you to Fierce Reads for the gifted copy and to Libro.FM for the ALC so I could sufficiently immerse myself in this story everywhere I went.
Detailed Content Review
Derogatory terms etc-
Calm your tits
Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking
A young man invites a young woman to a party with beer.
A man is rumored to have died because he was drinking. A baby girl’s mom found her on the couch next to the passed out drunk uncle and since then he hadn’t had a drink. When he died, he had liquor next to him.
A young man has dark circles under his eyes and is a shell of what he used to be. He talks of getting clean.
A young woman likes to sleep at an empty family house with her friend and break into the liquor cabinet.
Teens have a party with a keg of beer. A young woman drinks liquor and shares.
A young man is drinking Mountain Dew with a coffee filter floating in it. (Possibly with alcohol?) It’s laced with “something” a young woman states. This young man does “weed and more.” He is considered a “meth head.” His mom does meth and someone caught him cooking meth.
A young woman drinks a beer and it “goes down like water” so she grabs another. She drinks 3 and goes for a 4th and 5th.
A mother gives her daughter a pill after a terrible experience. She sleeps. When she wakes she wants more pills to sleep and forget.
A group of kids previously took meth and couldn’t eat or sleep. They even hallucinated together.
While undercover, a young woman needs to learn how to make meth. She takes a class and learns all the side effects and history, then makes multiple batches.
A young woman brings out pills (molly v) saying they’re good to go all night long with her boyfriend (viagra is mixed in pills.) Then pulls out a bunch of rolled joints. A young woman says no to her “ecstasy boner pills.”
A man has had more than one can of beer.
A woman dies from meth overdose.
A hallucinogenic mushroom has been added to some meth.
A young woman has been addicted to painkillers.
A man smokes 2 cigarettes.
A young woman buys pipe tobacco as a gift for an elderly man.
A young man offers drugs to a young woman to take together.
A young woman finds meth crystals hidden.
A woman drugs a young woman and takes her somewhere.
Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty
*Minor LGBTQ+ aspects included*
A young man “knocked up” his girlfriend. She was 16.
A man asks a woman to show him the parts of her that are Indian.
A young woman asks if she can text sex stuff to her friend then texts, that she should be rewarded for every goal. Her friend laughs and texts that she’s a “perv.” “Tell him you lost your V…” (virginity) “… I was 12!…” when she lost her virginity.
A young woman remembers her first experience with sex and how he said he loved her between gasps.
“Lust doesn’t last but herpes is forever.”
While undercover, a young woman shares a hotel room with a man. They are there under the pretense of a romantic weekend. The young woman’s aunt texts her advice about the weekend such as “Your pleasure is equal or greater than his.” (They have separate beds.)
A young woman and man have an agreement to not talk about his “morning boner” and her menstrual blood on the sheets.
A group of teens and college kids joke about gifts from gods being to pee standing up and multiple orgasms.
A man who is gay had a mother who thought he would outgrow it.
A young man kisses a young woman.
A young woman kisses a man.
A woman on a bus flashes her chest to a truck passing by.
A young woman and man kiss.
A man stands in a towel after a married woman leaves his room (Infidelity assumed.)
A man and young woman kiss as she plays with his hair.
“Who is the one with nice tits? Who is Johnson boning? She has a nice a$$.”
A young woman kisses a man’s neck briefly. He helps her undress due to an injury.
A man and young woman kiss. It gets passionate as they use tongues and she feels his chest under his shirt.
A man (22) and young woman (19) trade STD info saying they’re both clean. The man says he needs a condom. They kiss and his hands are up her shirt. He asks if this is what she wants, she says yes. He groans and she silences him with her fingers then he kisses her fingers.
A man forcefully pushes a young woman onto a bed and locks her there with his body. He unzips her dress. She tries to fight but can’t move. No details. Rape implied. This is referred to a few times throughout the book.
A sister sees lotion next to her brothers bed and remarks, “gross.”
Violence, Weapons, Crime, Blood
A gun is pointed in a young woman’s face.
A “blanket party” is when a guy does something bad to a woman and her female cousins wrap him in a blanket and beat him.
When a man offends a woman, she throat punches him and tells him she will do it again.
**SPOILER** Two teens are fighting. One grabs a gun from his pocket and points it. A young woman grabs for it and he shoots. She falls to the ground dead. He puts it to his temple and shoots. A young woman watches as his head snaps back then he crumples at the young woman’s feet. This is referred to and thought about multiple times throughout the book.
A young girl has palms that look like “melted plastic” (burns). She runs every time she hears a kettle screech. Another girl was afraid if men and had to sleep with her back against the wall. Abuse is assumed.
Previously, a young man accidentally shot a BB gun he was playing with. It shot out a car window and a woman inside went blind in one eye from it.
A young man punches a young man’s face when he says something rude about his sister.
A young woman punches a man in the face.
Two people are taken captive. The man was tasered and passed out. A young woman was drugged and taken there.
Previously, a man hits his girlfriend.
A young man purposely runs over a woman with his car.
A young woman purposely grabs a steering wheel making a car crash into a tree. A young man is found outside of the car with his leg bent oddly.
A young man looks to take an axe to a man’s ankle. A young woman tackles the young man and claws at his face.
A young woman passes out from internal bleeding.
Potentially Intense Themes
A woman loses her adult son and responds by having a stroke.
A young man and young woman are in a car accident. He breaks both legs.
A young woman lost her uncle. Her mother fainted at the news.
A young woman’s father has previously died in a logging accident.
A young woman sees two people get killed. She is overcome with grief.
A young woman looks at a young woman’s body and grieves.
A man’s death is ruled suspicious.
A young woman relives a young woman’s murder multiple times through dreams and thoughts.
A young woman has gone missing. Her body is found when a young woman smells the decay. Birds have pecked at the body and her eyelids. She drowned with possible foul play.
A grandmother dies from old age.
**Any quotes from the book are taken from the advanced copy and therefore may not be fully accurate or correctly compare to the final copy of the book.
**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.