On the advice of one of the DH's cigar-smoking friends, I borrowed Lisa See's Dreams of Joy from the library. The DH read it first, in record time - about a week. When I started reading, I was dismayed to see how DUMB the heroine was, and was not sure I wanted to continue, as I could already predict her fate.
Side note: the cigar friend now has an iPad, reads all the time, and has discovered he can download eBooks via Overdrive, from the Hawaii State Public Library System. He's a convert and an evangelist, and is therefore apparently spending less time on his vices. Which we won't go into here!
The story is set in China in the 1950's, when the whiplash 180 degree turnarounds in Mao Zedong's policies have already sent intellectuals to the countryside for re-education, and the Great Leap Forward has begun. The main character, Joy, goes to China to see her ideals realized, and to find her father.
While the book was well-written, there were improbable turns of events and circumstances, and you could see where Joy's views were so unrealistic that she was headed for disaster. So, I'll recommend this, but with those caveats. And I've borrowed the previous book, Shanghai Girls.
In this month of love and roses, I'm reading this book to the children who come to the library: Yuck: A Love Story, by Don Gillmor. Even at a young age, guys (like our hero) do dumb things to attract the attention of their objects of affection. Read this! It's FUN! For ages 6 to 106.
I'm also reading Guys Read: Thriller, edited by Jon Scieszka - a collection of short stories by authors such as MT Anderson, Matt de la Pena, Anthony Horowitz, Walter Dean Myers, Maragaret Peterson Haddix, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Gennifer Choldenko, Bruce Hale, James Patterson and Patrick Carman. I'm sure you'll recognize some names there, but check out some of the others!