Katherine Marsh’s — Nowhere boy *****

Katherine Marsh’s — Nowhere boy *****

Thirteen year old Max is not one bit happy his parents have moved from Washington D.C. to spend a year working in Brussels. To make matters worse, Max has to repeat grade six in a French school. The boys in his class make fun of him and the only one who helps him with his French is Farah. But Max’s life takes a dramatic turn when he discovers a Syrian refugee hiding in their cellar. Will he tell his parents or will be inspired by a neighbour, Albert Jonnart who hid a Jewish child during the WW11?

A well crafted YA novel that examines the challengers facing refugees and the fear and prejudice in the countries they move to.

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Lisa See’s — Dreams of Joy *****

Lisa See’s — Dreams of Joy *****

When Joy’s father commits suicide and she learns a secret Aunt May and her mother, Pearl have hidden from her all her life, she leaves Los Angeles and enters China. She hopes to forget her life back in America and find her birth father. Joy is elated by her father’s status and by village life under Mao. After Pearl reaches China in search of her daughter, she finds Joy dazzled by a poor country peasant and nothing she says can convince Joy of her ill fated match.

May and Pearl are characters from Shanghai Girls. Now the tale continues a generation later and is just as riveting.

Laura E. Weymouth’s — The light between worlds *****

Laura E. Weymouth’s — The light between worlds *****

While the Hapwell children, Phillippa, Jamie and Evelyn wait for their parents to dash into their London bomb shelter, they are mysteriously whisked away to another world — The Woodlands. But after five years with the Woodland creatures Phillippa and Jamie are desperate to return to their world. The readjustment to their original ages when they are transported home is hard on the three of them. For Evelyn who hardly remembers her previous life, it is the most difficult. Will she be able to cope back in England when she cannot breathe a word of her life in the Woodlands?

Cherie Dimaline’s — The marrow thieves *****

Cherie Dimaline’s — The marrow thieves *****

With the world nearly at an end from global warming, First Nation people are hunted for their bone marrow. When the Recruiters discover Mitch and Frenchie’s hideout, Mitch sacrifices himself to allow his younger brother to flee. Fenchie escapes and heads into Northern Canada until he is found by a group of First Nation escapees trying to avoid capture and certain death. But can they avoid the new schools that remind the elders of residential schools where they will be slaughtered for their bone marrow?

Mary Lynn Bracht’s — White Chrysanthemum *****

Mary Lynn Bracht’s — White Chrysanthemum *****

In 1943 Hana, a haenyeo rushes from Jeju Island’s sea to save her younger sister, Emi from capture by Japanese soldiers. In her place, Hana is kidnapped and sent on a long journey north to become a comfort woman. But before she arrives at the northern brothel to service Japanese soldiers she is raped by her captor, Morimoto.

This is a well written but a difficult read because the story is based on what happened to from 50 000 to 200 000 Korean women during WW11.

 

Yann Martel’s — Life of Pi *****

Yann Martel’s — Life of Pi *****

A Man Booker prize winner, this novel traces Pi Patel’s journey from Pondicherry by sea. His father has brought the animals from the zoo they once owned in the coastal city, but not long into the journey, the boat sinks and Pi and a few of the animals are the only survivors.

While the movie of this book was beautifully filmed with a well chosen cast, it failed to capture the philosophical essence that made the book a memorable read.

Janie Chang’s — Dragon Springs Road *****

Janie Chang’s — Dragon Springs Road *****

When the Fong’s estate near Shanghai is sold and the Yangs arrive, Jialing’s mother disappears and Jialing becomes a bond servant to the new family. Through her friendship with the spirit fox and Anjuin, the Yangs oldest daughter, she survives. A group of teachers rent a section of the estate and Jialing is given an opportunity to go to school. But even with her education and perfect English no one will employ her because she is zazhong— half Chinese, half Eurasian. How will she survive once the Yangs move to Shanghai leaving her behind?