Strong Ojibwe Women are like the tide, reminding us of forces too powerful to control weak people fear that strength.
Eighteen-year-old Daunis’s mixed heritage has always made her feel like an outsider, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. When she witnesses a shocking murder, she reluctantly agrees to be part of a covert FBI operation into a series of drug-related deaths. But the deceptions – and deaths – keep piling up and soon the threat strikes too close to home.
Now Daunis must decide 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.
I’m back with another buddy read with @readbynels. We both wanted to read more Indigenous literature after how much we loved Black Sun! We’ve both seen so many good things about this book.
Rich in Indigenous culture, Angeline Boulley explores themes of family, friendship, deception, grief, second-chances and love through our protagonist Daunis. She’s head-strong and completely dedicated to her community. It’s such a heart-warming display of family culture. However, through the sudden murders and investigation into drug culture, the reader is taken on a journey to discover what or who is poisoning the community…and just how long has it been happening for.
This was the definition of rich in culture. Angeline Boulley introduces the reader so many words, terms and phrases that you’re simply inhaling it all. There’s something so beautiful about discovering a new culture through books and I’ll admit I didn’t know much until I read this book. It’s very clever how she never neglects the reader but somehow managers to explain things clearly. There’s a sense of being welcomed into this new world. Angeline doesn’t want the reader to be on the outside looking in. She wants you to feel like your apart of the community.
And she succeeds without a doubt.
“I’m reminded that our Elders are our greatest resource, embodying culture, and community. Their stories connect us to our language, medicines, land, Clans, songs, and traditions. They are a bridge between the Before and the Now, guiding those of us who will carry on in the Future.”
The pacing of this book was extremely fast but one that I appreciate when it comes to thrillers. Everything was positioned and quite clearly plotted to build tension. A massive feat considering this book is over 400 pages. But yet, I loved that I reached halfway through the book and was genuinely shocked at how much had happened. The fact I was often trying to predict and guess what was happenng and who was behind everything is a testament to how invested I became in the characters.
“Inaction is a powerful choice”
Daunis was a brilliant protagonist. As I mentioned before, she’s incredibly head-strong but her dedication to her family/community was her best trait. I adored her friendship with Lily, her relationship with her Aunty and her love for her cousins. We often felt her pain and grief throughout this book. Daunis was representing the tall girls in all aspects of life. She clearly wasn’t like other girls in the sense that she was driven by her family to succeed. Her love for hockey amongst other things made her stand out to me.
Her love for her culture and community despite remaining on the outside of it all, was truly inspirational. I think Boulley carefully articulated how it feels to be of mixed heritage and struggling to be accepted by those that refuse to recognise that half of you that’s similar.
“When someone dies, everything about them becomes past tense. Except for the grief. Grief stays in the present…”
I think more than anything this book shows the power in community. The devotion and love these cultures have within their worlds. Community is so close-knit and we often forgot the power they can have.
The ending of the book was the sole reason why I couldn’t give this book a higher rating. In terms of the plot, it was excellent. I was on the edge of my seat within the last few 100 pages. Angeline Boulley takes you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions that will leave you completely breathless.
“Kindness is something that seems small, Daunis, but it’s like tossing a pebble into a pond and the ripples reach further than you thought.”
But yet, I left this book with so many questions. Way too many questions. And I know it’s a thriller but there were some plot points I would have liked to have been answered. I also think I got a little confused between certain characters. I was disappointed with the ending and even now, I wish it had ended differently. I know so many people have loved this book and it is a great YA read.
Nevertheless, if you are looking for a thriller with the undercover trope than this is for you. It’s hard-hitting and will leave you on the edge of your seat!