I loved this book! So, as I mentioned in an earlier post about expanding my content, here is one of my favorite recent YA reads.
Set in 2004 on the Ojibwe Reservation in the UP of Michigan, Daunis is a bi-racial young woman who just graduated from high school. During one pivotal summer, her life is forever altered when she witnesses a murder and gets pulled into a covert sting operation with Jamie, a young FBI agent who is posing as a senior on the local hockey team. They need to pose as a couple, and soon real feelings develop between them, as they with a senior FBI agent, try to figure out who is making and distributing meth in the community.
Daunis is very connected with her family and tribe and respects Ojibwe traditional medicine and lore. Daunis’ family relationships are messy and complicated, as she has a younger half-brother from when her Native father cheated on her white teenage mother. That scandal and her mother’s family’s prejudices are an intriguing layer to her character. We also are introduced to a lot of background knowledge that is built-in for readers to pick up on, which I appreciated. While I had guessed at who was involved in the drug trade, the action-packed ending brought it to an exciting close. While there was justice for some, there were several endings that didn’t wrap up neatly, but that added realism to the story.
This novel has built up a lot of traction in the last year and was chosen as the winner of the Printz Award, which honors excellence in YA books. I wish I had picked it up earlier, but the beautiful Native American-inspired art on the cover made me think it was a fantasy novel, vs the gritty thriller it actually is. The book is a love letter from the author to her Native culture, and I will absolutely pick up future books by Angeline Boulley, as she celebrates and honors her heritage while telling an excellent story.