Firekeeper’s Daughter

Macmillan Audio. 2021. 496p. $57.99. ISBN 9781250779526.
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.

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