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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.6 out of 5
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  • A Story Full of History

    I have seen this book everywhere, and a lot of people claim it is the best book they have read this year. For me, I think that there is too much hip for this book. The book was pretty average for me. There was nothing wrong with it but also nothing that stands out beyond the rest. This book has a lot of ancestral, tribal, native elements to create a unique backstory and setting within the book. This is how the fantasy elements come into the book. The tribal group the main girl is a part of has many unique customs and beliefs that make up a lot of what drives the story. The book also includes some of the languages that are spoken in the tribe to add even more of this aspect into the book. For me, this book wasn't really about the mystery, but more of just the story and the main character's own struggles. But having the mystery in the book did add some nice suspense. There were also some nice shocking reveals but not in connection with the mystery. Before the big reveal, there were a lot of different clues to lead you to the truth. I didn't guess the whole truth but the build-up was way too long, so when it finally happened it wasn't a very big shock. Also, it isn't like the motive is a secret. It is pretty clear from the beginning the motive and how it happened, the whole thing is just figuring out who. I didn't realize this book would have a bug sports element, so I was thrown off at first because I can find that having that leads me to be very bored with the book. But the way it was done in this book wasn't boring and kept a nice balance that made having it incorporated into the book benefited instead of worsening. The story does deal with a lot of difficult topics like prejudice, murder, addiction, and sexual abuse. So just a warning it could trigger some people. But the book takes these topics and allows Daunis to grow and learn from these things and grow stronger. I just think this book was too predictable and included a lot of useless information. It was slow a lot of the time and she just pocks around trying to play detective. I also don't think the relationship is very realistic in how it came to exist and then how it proceeds afterward. I couldn't see them together and this had me not rooting against them but also not rooting for them either. Their relationship is more of a formal one so having it turn to be even more close than friendly had it be too forceful and unnatural. So there were some good elements, some bad. But for me, it just didn't meet my expectation and is just a middle-of-the-road type of book.

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    3 person found this review helpful

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  • Propulsive and powerful debut

    Daunis Fontaine is half white and half Ojibwe, and her Grandmother Pearl always told her that bad things happen in threes. Within months, her Uncle David died and her GrandMary (Grandmother Mary) had a stroke and is now stuck in a long-term care facility. She can feel the third bad thing on the horizon, so she decides to enroll in a college closer to home, with the idea that she can stop it. Well, the third bad thing happens... But even though she couldn't prevent that tragedy, she's given the chance to help prevent the circumstances that caused it from happening again. This book's greatest strength is it's complete and total immersiveness in the culture of its setting. Boulley doesn't really hold your hand about terms that you might be unfamiliar with, and I actually really appreciated that. That's not to say it's weak in any other respect; on the contrary, I was impressed by this book on the whole. Boulley's writing, the prose in general but especially the dialogue between characters and the way they interact...the way Daunis is with her family, with her best friend, with a stranger who she might be falling for, all feel so authentic. It's engaging as a suspense thriller, and I also loved the complicated relationship Daunis has with Jaime. It might've dragged in parts? 50 or so pages I feel could've been edited out (it's fairly long at almost 500 pages). But really, I barely noticed. Loved loved loved this book. *I received an ARC from the publisher through BookishFirst

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    1 person found this review helpful

    1 people found this review helpful

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  • An extraordinary debut and mystery!!!

    An extraordinary debut novel that brings the beauty and depth of the Ojibwe culture to life. The story pulls you in not only with the mystery at its center but the way it weaves in all the facets of Ojibwe life into the story is truly remarkable. You will come away from this story touched on so many different levels. The experiences that so many Native women have lived is so vital to bring to a wider audience and this book does that important work through this well crafted, wonderfully paced story that brings so many amazing characters to life. The story focuses on Daunis, a biracial, but not enrolled member of the Ojibwe tribe. She should be leaving Sault Ste Marie for college but a family tragedy has changed her plans and will keep her at the local college. Daunis loves science and medicine as well as hockey, and through her brother she meets the local hockey teams newest star member, Jaime. But there is something that just doesn't quite mesh with Jaime, and after a devastating murder close to Daunis, she discovers exactly why things seemed off. There has been an explosion of meth related incidents and this latest brings an undercover FBI operation to town. Daunis becomes an informant in order to help but the connections she finds to so many people close to her and revelations about her past have terrible impacts beyond anything she could have imagined. Add to that the connection she has with Jamie which brings both joy and heartache in equal measure. I absolutely loved how Angeline weaves in so many traditional stories but also combines that with the science of plants and medicine and how these are combined into Daunis' worldview. The importance of the elders and their knowledge, the strength of the bonds between women and how this is the core of the story make this just a gripping tale. And the reveals of who is behind the incidents certainly left me shocked!! The relationship between Daunis and Jaime is beautifully written, and the novel is full of so many wonderful, complex, flawed, real characters whose experiences will stay with you long beyond finishing the book. This book is fantastic not only for mystery lovers but for anyone who wants a greater understanding of Native culture and specifically the experiences of Native women. Truly, this a marvelous read.

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    1 person found this review helpful

    1 people found this review helpful

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  • AN excellent YA debut novel

    I received a free electronic ARC copy of this excellent young adult novel featuring high schoolers of the Ojibwe tribe of First Americans in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. This book features a lot of ice hockey and teenage angst but is an excellent look at life in small Michigan towns and the influence of weather on the lifestyle of the community. There is a wide net of family support not often seen in large American cities, and a sense of comradery similar to that experienced in the western towns I am familiar with. But of course, down here we have football... I enjoyed this dip into winter - and have stopped whining about our low of 23 degrees one-night last week - and thoroughly enjoyed a look into the lives of these families. It was good to see examples of support and compassion expressed well during this pandemic that has us all isolated and feeling our own angst against the world. And it is soon to be adapted at Netflix for TV with President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama's production company, Higher Ground! How exciting!

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  • Heroine at a crossroads

    This review is for an excerpt that truly sets the tone for what is to follow. Daunis in many ways straddles two worlds as her father was a part of the Indigenous people and her mother a white woman descended from French settlers. This story is a revelation as well as a criminal suspense one with deaths, drug use and prejudice. Daunis is at a crossroads in many ways as her uncle recently died, her maternal grandmother has had a stroke and she decides not to go away to university but to stay another year at home. Set against a background of hockey players seeking a better life Daunis stands out as a strong young woman who only wishes to be accepted but sometimes what you wish for can bring terrible consequences. I highly recommend this book and will certainly read more from this author. This voluntary take is of an excerpt I requested from Netgalley and my thoughts and comments are honest and I believe fair

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