May 2023

Warrior Girl Unearthed

By Angeline Boulley
Firekeeper’s Daughter author Angeline Boulley returns to Sugar Island with a thriller that urges readers to consider: Who owns the past?
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Angeline Boulley burst onto the YA scene with her bestselling, Michael L. Printz Award-winning debut, Firekeeper’s Daughter. Now the author returns to Sugar Island, Michigan, with Warrior Girl Unearthed. In this riveting companion thriller, Boulley places the niece of the protagonist of Firekeeper’s Daughter at center stage.

Sixteen-year-old Perry Firekeeper-Birch has really been looking forward to spending her “Summer of Slack” fishing, reading and generally taking it easy. But then she accidentally crashes the Jeep she shares with her sister, Pauline (aka “the nice twin”), and Auntie Daunis insists that Perry join Pauline at her summer internship to earn the funds to pay for repairs.

When Perry meets her supervisor, Cooper Turtle, at the tribal museum, she’s unsure what to expect and still disappointed about having lost her leisurely summer. Her reluctance about the job transforms into purpose when Cooper brings Perry to a meeting at Mackinac State College, where she encounters two life-changing acronyms: MACPRA, the Michigan Anishinaabek Cultural Preservation and Repatriation Alliance, and NAGPRA, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, a federal law that requires museums and educational institutions to return human remains and cultural artifacts back to Indigenous groups.

Perry is appalled to learn that, due to legal loopholes, the college has not returned the sacred items in its collection to the tribes, treating them as objects to hoard rather than honor. Even worse, the college’s collection of ancestral remains are treated the same way, including a set of bones stashed in a metal box and shoved onto an office shelf: the titular Warrior Girl. 

With her own inner warrior girl awakened, Perry marshals support from a host of winning characters, including her sister, their fellow interns, the irrepressible Granny June and the handsome new kid in town, to help her uncover the truth about the origins of the items and remains. She wants to return them to their tribe and expose those who have surely committed thievery and desecration. 

Heightened tension, dynamic action scenes, a complicated heist and plenty of revelations ensue as Perry and her cohort contend with generational trauma, delicate political dynamics and even murder. Through it all, Boulley, an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, urges readers to consider: Who owns the past? 

Warrior Girl Unearthed is an edifying and deeply moving read that reminds us, in the words of Cooper Turtle, “Everything is connected, Little Sister. The past. The future. The beginning and ending. Answers are there even before the question. You’re supposed to go back to where you started. And if you step off the path, you better keep your eyes wide open.” 

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Warrior Girl Unearthed

Warrior Girl Unearthed

By Angeline Boulley
ISBN 9781250766588

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