Fire Keeper’s Daughter

Fire Keeper's Daughter cover
Fire Keeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

By Angeline Boulle
Henry Holt, 2021
496 pages

Age 14 and older

Daunis, 18, has postponed attending the University of Michigan to stay in Sault Ste. Marie for her mother, who is reeling from the recent death of Daunis’s uncle and the failing health of Daunis’s grandmother–the wealthy white woman who wouldn’t allow Daunis’s Ojibwe father to be named on Daunis’s birth certificate. Daunis is close to her late father’s family regardless, including half-brother Levi, and immersed in her Ojibwe community. A stellar hockey player in high school, Daunis’s prospects were ended by injury but she remains a fan. Levi asks her to show a new-to-town player on the local team around town, and she can’t deny—at least to herself—the attraction she feels to Jamie. But when Daunis’s best friend, Lily, is murdered by Lily’s estranged boyfriend, a once funny, smart kid now addicted to meth, she discovers Jamie, who’s also Native, is an undercover FBI agent investigating an especially dangerous strain of meth traced to the area. Feeling both betrayed and grief-stricken, Daunis eventually agrees to be a confidential informant; a role she learns her late uncle also played. This riveting thriller weaves irresistible elements of the genre–rising action, mounting tension, a smart, capable protagonist both sure-footed and uncertain–with a nuanced portrayal of the complexity of contemporary Native identity and experience. It confronts painful truths, including racism and violence against Native women, and lingers on beautiful ones, especially the role of community in healing, and also thriving.  ©2021 Cooperative Children’s Book Center