When Lily was three, her mother put her up for adoption, then disappeared without a trace. Or so Lily was told. Lily grew up in her new family and tried to forget her past. But with the Korean War raging and fear of “commies” everywhere, Lily’s Asian heritage makes her a target. She is sick of the racism she faces, a fact her adoptive parents won’t take seriously. For Lily, war is everywhere—the dinner table, the halls at school, and especially within her own skin.
Then her brainy little brother, Ralph, finds a box hidden in the attic. In it are a baffling jumble of broken antiques—clues to her past left by her “Gone Mom.” Lily and Ralph attempt to match these fragments with rare Chinese artifacts at the art museum. She encounters the artistic genius Elliot James, who attracts and infuriates Lily as he tries to draw out the beauty of her golden heritage. Will Lily summon the courage to confront her own remarkable creation story? The real story, and one she can know only by coming face-to-face with the truth long buried within the people she thought she knew best.
Paperback, 336 pages
Expected publication: May 13th 2014 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
I received an advanced copy of this novel from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. The expected publication date is May 13 2014.
This was a story about finding identity and your place in the world. Told through the eyes of a Chinese girl who was adopted in to a non Chinese family during the time of the Korean war it captured the theme of social tolerance perfectly. Not only did Lily struggle with her identity because she had nobody to teach her about her heritage she also had to deal with being a social outcast simply because of her heritage.
Although not an overly exciting read it does teach a very good lesson. One about accepting who you are, knowing what you stand for and accepting the things that make you different. This is a good message to give the YA audience. Although I found Lily was a little too easily brought to tears I am saying this as someone who has not had to deal with her issues. I also remember my teen angst years and perhaps should be a little more forgiving. Anyone who has ever felt a little lost can appreciate this story.
There is also a nice clean "first love" story within the pages. Although not the main focus of the story it added an element of interest to it for me. The highlight of the story is Lily's brother Ralph. I had to keep reminding myself that he was only eleven as at times he seemed so much older and more mature than that. If all little brothers were like him then I would wish that I had one.
All in all this was a good story with a good message about tolerance and discovering ones identity. It was a fast and easy read and teaches a few lessons along the way.
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