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WARRIOR GIRL UNEARTHED

A page-turning heist grounded in a nuanced exploration of critical issues of cultural integrity.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2023


  • New York Times Bestseller

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)

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9781250766588

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023

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IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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IF ONLY I HAD TOLD HER

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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