Review posted June 3, 2023
Macmillan Young Listeners, 2023. 11 hours, 33 minutes.
Review written May 11, 2023, from a library eaudiobook.
Warrior Girl Unearthed is a companion novel to the amazing multiple award-winning Firekeeper's Daughter, so you can be absolutely sure that I preordered a copy signed by the author. However, since I'm currently reading for the Morris Award (and this is not eligible), instead of reading my signed copy, I listened to the library eaudiobook. I will reread both books when the award reading is done.
This book takes place ten years after Firekeeper's Daughter, so Daunis's little nieces Perry and Pauline are now sixteen years old. Yes, you can get away without reading the first book, but as I usually say, why would you?
As the book begins, Perry was planning a summer of fishing and relaxing, but when she runs into a deer while speeding, Auntie Daunis holds her responsible for paying for the repairs, and she needs to do an internship. As the summer begins, she is assigned to Cooper, the museum curator. She learns about NAGPRA, the 1990 federal law requiring universities and museums to return ancestral remains and sacred items of Native Americans to their people. But she also learns that universities and museums have found ways to drag their feet indefinitely.
Cooper, though sometimes frustrated, is committed to working within the rules and the laws to get the remains returned. Perry is not so patient. And she's horrified by what she sees at the local university and even at a local tourist shop -- ancestors' remains and crafts treated with complete disrespect.
A subplot along with that story is that indigenous young women are going missing. And the authorities outside of the tribe don't seem to be taking it seriously. When it happens to Perry's dear friend, she may have to take matters into her own hands. Though will that interfere with her plans to get her ancestors back?
And, yes, it all comes together in a dangerous adventure where stakes are high and lives are at risk.
I love the way this story is told, because we feel Perry's heart for her people. If I read simple facts - for example, that Harvard has more Native remains than it does living Native students - I am bothered with my mind. But Perry's story makes my heart hurt for them and helps me understand the significance more deeply.
Another amazing and wonderful book from Angeline Boulley. I hope there will be many more to come.