Escape Under the Forever Sky by Eve Yohalem
Lucy Hoffman is thirteen and determined to find some real adventure, outside of the books she reads, as the daughter of the American ambassador to Ethiopia. She finds it when she is kidnapped after sneaking out of the embassy compound. On her own in the Ethiopian wild, she must use everything she knows about African wildlife to escape and return to freedom. (Inspired by a true story)
Final word: B+. I enjoyed reading and experiencing life through Lucy's eyes. I'm not nearly so adventurous and brave as she is, so that's why I love reading books about people like her. :) I admired her quick-thinking and determination, as well as her ready application of knowledge.
A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
Tree-ear is an orphan who lives under a bridge with his friend, Craneman, in Ch'ulp'o, a potter's village in Korea. He watches the potter Min toss pots on his wheel and dreams of becoming a potter. One day, he is given the chance to become an apprentice to Min, where he learns both the rewards and the hazards of being a potter.
Final word: A-. Park (re)created 12th century Korea, and the characters live and breathe. I loved the story and how the characters are each unique and have their own stories. I particularly enjoyed Tree-ear's determination to do what is right and to make the best of his circumstances.
Crooked River by Shelley Pearsall
Crooked River is the story of Rebecca, a young girl living on the frontier in 1812, and Indian John, an Indian who is accused of murdering a trapper. Indian John is held in the loft of Rebecca's family's cabin until his trial in the spring, and their close proximity brings some understanding between them. As the story unfolds in the voices of both Rebecca and Amik (Indian John's real name), the true story becomes one of prejudice, justice, and courage.
Final word: A. I loved this book. Rebecca's innocent goodness shines through as she struggles with what she has been taught and what she experiences and feels for herself.