Book Reviews

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Warrior Girl Unearthed Starred Reviews

“Ten years after the events of Firekeeper’s Daughter (2021), Boulley’s thrilling debut, readers return to Michigan’s Sugar Island in this stand-alone novel.

It’s 2014, and Perry and Pauline Firekeeper-Birch are 16 and still devoted to their Auntie Daunis. The twins are participating in the Sugar Island Ojibwe Tribe’s summer internship program: Academically driven, anxiety-prone Pauline is thrilled to be working with the Tribal Council, while impulsive, outspoken Perry, who would rather be fishing, is initially less than excited about her assignment to the tribal museum. But the girls’ shared passion for their heritage and outrage over acts of desecration by greedy individuals and institutions lead them, some fellow interns who are dealing with varied life circumstances, and even some elders to carry out a daring, dangerous plan to right a terrible wrong. First-person narrator Perry’s voice is irresistibly cheeky, wry, and self-aware, and her growth is realistic as, without losing her spark, she comes to understand why her beloved mentor believed that “doing the right thing for the right reason, with a good heart and clear intentions, matters.” Boulley, an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, sensitively and seamlessly weaves in discussions of colorism (the girls’ father is Black and Anishinaabe), repatriation of cultural artifacts and human remains, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, and more into a story with well-developed characterization that is both compellingly readable and deeply thought-provoking.

A page-turning heist grounded in a nuanced exploration of critical issues of cultural integrity. (Thriller. 14-18)"

–  Kirkus Reviews

“Black and Anishinaabe high schooler Perry Firekeeper-Birch tackles issues surrounding U.S. repatriation laws as well as Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in this page-turning companion taking place 10 years after Firekeeper’s Daughter by Anishinaabe author Boulley. After dropping off her twin sister Pauline at the Sugar Island Ojibwe Tribe’s summer internship program, where she will be working with the Tribal Council, Perry is ready to begin her summer of slacking off and fishing with Pops. But when her aunt foots the bill for car repairs, Perry is forced to get a job at the program to pay her back. She’s working at the tribal museum when she discovers that a local university has been taking advantage of legal loopholes to hold on to deceased Anishinaabe remains. Determined to return them to their rightful homes, Perry devises a ploy with the other interns, uncovering a deadly mystery involving missing Indigenous women along the way. Conversations surrounding colorism contribute to the characters’ authentic renderings, and Perry’s snarky first-person narration propels this intelligent heist narrative, culminating in a thrilling and empowering read. Ages 14–up."

–  Publisher’s Weekly

“Boulley returns to Sugar Island, Michigan, in 2014, ten years after the events of the multi-award-winning Firekeeper’s Daughter (rev. 5/21). This novel’s protagonist is Daunis’s sixteen-year-old niece, Perry Firekeeper-Birch. Perry reluctantly joins her more-driven twin sister, Pauline, on a summer internship at the tribal museum (laid-back Perry had wanted to spend the summer fishing). At the internship, Perry learns about the Native American Graves Protection
and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) and also discovers that a local college has a large, uncataloged collection of human remains and artifacts that likely belong to her tribe, the Sugar Island Ojibwe. When a professor shows her the bones of a teen known as the Warrior Girl, Perry knows she must get them back to the tribe for a proper reburial, even if it involves illegal means. Boulley skillfully weaves in not only the issue of stolen Indigenous artifacts and remains but also that of missing Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people. Through Perry, readers learn how lack of federal resources and inadequate federal laws make it nearly impossible to investigate missing-persons cases on tribal land. Another powerful, suspenseful page-turner from Boulley that will keep readers rooting for the resourceful Perry on her quest to return the Warrior Girl to her rightful resting place and as she finds her life’s passion."

– Hornbook Magazine

“Gr 9 Up–Perry Firekeeper-Birch wrecked the Jeep and had to join her twin sister, Pauline, in a summer internship offered by their tribe to pay for repairs. The summer is harrowing, with local Indigenous women going missing, and the murders of Black people by police that have the twins concerned for their father’s safety. Perry’s internship begins with Cooper Turtle, curator of the Tribal Museum. Perry is less than enthused, but after visiting a local college and seeing the bones and artifacts of her ancestors stored there, she finds her passion—to bring her ancestors back to Sugar Island. Cooper helps educate her on the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Impatient with the red tape involved with NAGPRA, Perry repatriates seeds from a college backlog collection and loses Cooper’s trust. Bouncing around different tribal departments for the rest of her internship, Perry is encouraged by the sub-Chief to lead her sister and friends into a heist to repatriate a private collection. Their plan takes a dark turn, and Perry finds herself in the hands of a predator. Though a sequel to Firekeeper’s Daughter, it can be read as a stand-alone. VERDICT Perry’s dreams, desires, culture, traditions, and actions create a compelling narrative about one teen’s attempt to undo some of the injustices her community and people have faced. Strong first buy."

– School Library Journal

Copyright © 2023 Angeline Boulley.
All rights reserved
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Copyright © 2023 Angeline Boulley. All rights reserved
Site powered by Fusion Design Group, Ltd.