Miikwan and Dez are best friends. Miikwan is Anishinaabe; Dez is Inninew. Together, the teens navigate the challenges of growing up in an urban landscape – they’re so close, they even completed their Berry Fast together. However, when Dez’s grandmother becomes too sick, Dez is told she can’t stay with her anymore. With the threat of a group home looming, Dez can’t bring herself to go home and disappears. Miikwan is devastated, and the wound of her missing mother resurfaces. Will Dez’s community find her before it’s too late? Will Miikwan be able to cope if they don’t?
In this haunting graphic novel, debut author Spillett and Donovan (The Sockeye Mother) present a story of girls growing up with the historical legacy of Canada's treatment of indigenous people, particularly women and girls. Indigenous Canadian teens Dez (who is Inninew) and Miikwan (who is Anishinaabe) have always been closer than sisters; they tell each other everything and partner up to tell the story of their berry fast for a school heritage project. But after Dez learns that she can no longer live with her ailing grandmother, who is suffering from complications of diabetes, she spends the night in a park, fearing a possible move to a group home. Indigenous women routinely disappear in their city, and Miikwaan, whose own mother is dead, becomes frantic, fearing the worst. In scenes of a city spilling over with tension, Donovan renders ghosts of lost kindred walking the bright city streets alongside menacing, mostly male specters. Spillet's appendix "Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit People" adds further context and suggestions for additional reading. Ages 13 up. \n