Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2024) Featured Review: Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley

  • Warrior Girl Unearthed
  • by Angeline Boulley
  • Narrated by Isabella Star LeBlanc
  • Macmillian Audio | Macmillan Young Listeners
  • Publication Date: May 2, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781250877277

Perry Firekeeper-Birch just wants to enjoy her summer. But when a close call with a bear causes her to have a car accident she is forced to complete an internship at her tribe’s museum. There she learns about NAGPRA and repatriation (or lack thereof) of ancestors from a local university. She and her friends embark on a journey to bring their ancestors home by any means necessary. All the while, Native girls are going missing under mysterious circumstances, which is an issue that is all but ignored by the authorities. Warrior Girl Unearthed is a heartfelt story full of mystery and intrigue with realistic depictions of issues faced by indigenous people.

Isabella Star LeBlanc’s narration masterfully brings the story to life with her pronunciation of Ojibwe language and her captivating tone. The narration enhances the story by providing readers with an authentic voice depicting the native language spoken by the tribe as well as the reservation accent and code switching. 
This book is perfect for readers who enjoy authors such as Angie Thomas, Courtney Summers, Darcie Little Badger, or E. Lockhart. Those who enjoyed Boulley’s debut novel, Firekeeper’s Daughter, will enjoy this story as well.

– Haley Shaw

Other Nominated Titles

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2024) Featured Review: Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley

  • Warrior Girl Unearthed
  • by Angeline Boulley
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
  • Release date: May 2, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781250766588

Perry Firekeeper-Birch would far rather spend her summer fishing, which is in stark contrast to her college-bound twin’s plan to participate in the Kinomaage program’s internship. Perry’s plans for a “Summer Slack” are abruptly ended when she wrecks the twins’ Jeep trying to avoid a mother bear and her cub. To pay for the repairs, Perry’s Aunt Daunis requires her to participate in the internship program and hand over all earnings. What starts as a punishment quickly morphs into a fascinating internship as Perry navigates the NAGPRA regulations surrounding the recovery of the remains and funerary artifacts of Indigenous ancestors. 

Part heist, part ethical dilemma, part deep dive into tribal politics and issues, this book has importance beyond its audience appeal. Those who fell in love with Daunis in Firekeeper’s Daughter will welcome her role in this companion novel.  Perry is a fully formed character in her own right and is surrounded by characters who are equally well developed.  The family and relational dynamics are universally recognizable, inviting readers to feel the pain of the desecration Indigenous people’s ancestors in the name of “science” on a much more visceral level. Broken into week-long segments, an epigraph highlighting the real life struggle and injustice Indigenous people face in getting those remains and objects returned introduces the challenge Perry (and Cooper Turtle) will face in their quest.  Boulley also seamlessly weaves the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women as well as the loopholes surrounding the prosecution of domestic abuse perpetrated on them into the plot made more compelling by a strong female protagonist and evidence so great that readers don’t require an explicit message to feel the injury.  Boulley also brings the “receipts” by ending with “Cooper’s List of Repatriation Resources” which further allows readers to judge the inequities for themselves.

This is a solid mystery/adventure that will appeal to fans of true crime and history. Give this to readers of Boulley’s first book, Firekeeper’s Daughter (although they won’t have had to read it in order to appreciate this one) or readers who liked Kate McLaughlin’s Daughter, or the Agatha mysteries collaboration by Kathleen Glasgow and Liz Lawson.

-Jodi Kruse

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: November 15, 2022
Release Date: April 11, 2023
March 28, 2023
Release Date: March 14, 2023

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.
The Best Fiction for Young Adults Committee appreciates teen feedback as members evaluate the nominated titles. Teen librarians are encouraged to share the List of Potential Nominees under consideration with their patrons and solicit feedback using the link: https://bit.ly/BFYA24TeenFB