An Ojibwe Murder Mystery for Teen Book Club | Brittney Uecker, Youth Services Librarian   

It’s been a minute since I’ve read a book I truly couldn’t put down, but this month’s Teen Book Club pick, “Firekeeper’s Daughter” by Angeline Boulley, has me flying through the pages.

After tragedy strikes her family, Daunis Fontaine’s dream of a fresh start at college is put on hold and she feels stuck and outcast in both her hometown and the nearby Ojibwe reservation. Things start to look up when she meets Jamie, the charming new recruit on the local hockey team, but she soon starts to sense that there is more to Jamie than meets the eye. When Daunis witnesses a shocking murder and learns of a lethal new drug sweeping through her community, she agrees to go undercover with the FBI to investigate the events. As secrets and scars continue to be exposed, Daunis is torn between punishing offenders and protecting victims and must learn what it takes to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe, or Ojibwe woman.

This 2022 Printz Award winner has all the twists and turns of a thriller, the heightened emotions of YA, and the beauty of an intricately woven novel, giving it crossover potential for both teen and adult audiences. Ojibwe culture, language and tradition are front and center throughout this story. Boulley does an excellent job of balancing explanation with normalization to make these elements resonate with a wide range of audiences. The author doesn’t stray away from hard topics including addiction and grief, though she talks about them in a way that is realistic and sensitive. The character development is rich and satisfying, and depictions of family and community leave the reader crying both out of sadness and joy. This book is nothing if not heartfelt. I would be remiss to brush past the gorgeous cover art by Moses Lunham, which encompasses a clever variety of symbols that reveal themselves as the story unfolds.

You can pick up a copy of “Firekeeper’s Daughter” at the Library today. Teen Book Club will meet on Wednesday, March 22 at 3:30PM in the Youth Area to discuss this book. If you have questions about any of our monthly book clubs, please contact the Library. We host five different book clubs, so there is something for every interest and reading level.

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