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January 24, 2023

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame, an independent, Catholic, International Baccalaureate school, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

Author of groundbreaking thriller for young adults will be on campus to discuss her debut novel, her Indigenous culture and the writing process that has led to such a whirlwind of success.

Author Angeline Boulley's debut novel went to #1 on the New York Times bestsellers list and has been optioned by Netflix through Barack and Michelle Obama's production company, Higher Ground Productions. (Photo by Marcella Hadden)

Angeline Boulley, an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, is a storyteller who writes about her Ojibwe community in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In the past, she also has served as director of the Office of Indian Education at the U.S. Department of Education and as her tribe’s education director/assistant executive director.

She's also a New York Times best-selling author currently working with Barack and Michelle Obama's production company on a Netflix adaptation of her first book, Firekeeper's Daughter.

And while it's certainly happened before, whenever somebody's book debut becomes an instant #1 New York Times bestseller, it is a big deal — a "really" big deal — and, as a result, Buelley's life likely will never be the same. 

The book, which is geared toward young adults 12 to 18 years old, also earned Boulley the Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature, the Printz Award, the William C. Morris award for YA debut literature, and was an American Indian Youth Literature Award Honor Book. Additionally, in August 2021, TIME Magazine named the book to its "Best Young Adult Books of All-Time" list.

Now, as Boulley, who still lives in Michigan, is planning to publish her second novel, Warrior Girl Unearthed, this year and continues to work with the Obamas' production company, Higher Ground Productions on the Netflix series, she still finds time to visit with young people.

On Monday, Feb. 6, Boulley will be at Notre Dame Prep to spend some quality time with high-schoolers and middle schoolers. 

Organized by NDPMA librarians Liz Aguilar and Megan Rochon, the award-winning author will give a presentation to NDP freshmen and invited sophomores, juniors and seniors about the themes of her debut novel, the Ojibwe culture and writing. Later in the day, NDPMA middle school students will attend her presentation on Ojibwe culture and writing. Note that her appearance on Feb. 6 at NDPMA is closed to the public.

Boulley said she's looking forward to the Notre Dame event.

"I actually do between two to five school visits per month," she said. "I enjoy meeting younger readers the most, because the conversations tend to be less filtered and more insightful." 

"Firekeeper's Daughter," Boulley's debut novel, was published in March of 2021. Her second book, "Warrior Girl Unearthed," will be released in May of this year.

Firekeeper's Daughter follows the adventures of Daunis Fontaine, a Native 18-year-old living in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, who, in an attempt to expose corruption in the community, goes undercover in an FBI investigation and uncovers more than she expected.


Boulley, who in the past has described the novel as an "Indigenous Nancy Drew," says she typically tells young readers that the book is about love, death, and hockey — "as a teen girl tries to figure out who is responsible for a new drug that is devastating her Native American community in Michigan's Upper Peninsula." 

Asked about progress on the Netflix series based on her novel, Boulley says everything is moving along, but acknowledges that such things take time.

"The showrunner and head writer have worked on a pilot script that Netflix has approved," she said. "The next step is to assemble a writers room of four to eight more writers to work on the scripts for season 1. Once Netflix greenlights those, they'll move from the development phase to the production phase — which will involve casting and location selections."

Buelley said she hasn't yet spoken with the Obamas on the project, "but I look forward to meeting them in person when Firekeeper's Daughter premieres." 

And while she may have some ideas when it comes to casting the series, she's also keeping an open mind and in fact welcomes suggestions from her young readership.

"In addition to some of the fan art I receive, I love to see the casting ideas that students have for Firekeeper's Daughter!"



“Groundbreaking . . . what do you get when you combine Tommy Orange, Tomi Adeyemi and Angie Thomas?”
—Entertainment Weekly

“Bold, uncompromising.”
—Courtney Summers, New York Times bestselling author of Sadie

“Intricate and moving.”
—Tochi Onyebuchi, award-winning author of Beasts Made of Night and War Girls

“This book will leave you breathless.”
—Francisco X. Stork, acclaimed author of Marcelo in the Real World and Illegal

—Danielle Roulette, Ojibwe from Dog Creek First Nation, @ThunderbirdWomanReads

“An  unforgettable thriller.”
—Mallory Whiteduck, member of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, @nativegirlsreading

“The most powerful and stunning book of the year.”
—Alexis Aumagamanaia, @littlelionslibrary

“A masterpiece of Indigenous literature.”
—Erin Tripp, Lingit, @erins_library 

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame, an independent, Catholic, International Baccalaureate school, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

Comments or questions?

Follow Notre Dame on Twitter at @NDPMA.

About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. Notre Dame Preparatory School enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower schools enroll students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. All three schools are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the National Association of Independent Schools. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school’s home page at