The China Year

Emily Cheney Neville, Author HarperCollins Publishers $15.95 (245p) ISBN 978-0-06-024383-8
Eighth grader Henri spends a year in China when her father becomes a foreign exchange professor at Beijing University. At first, Henri is lonely because she does not have anyone her own age to talk to, but then she meets Minyuan, a Chinese boy who speaks English. Over the next months their friendship blossoms, only to be cut down--but not destroyed--by tragic political and personal circumstances. Built on an uncertain foundation of striking similarities and profound differences in attitude and outlook, Henri and Minyuan's relationship is as dynamic as it is tenuous. Neville's ( It's Like This, Cat ) narrative makes for dramatic reading while also offering readers a witty look at both American and Chinese family life. Given its well-drawn characters, exotic setting and unusual subject matter, it seems unfortunate that the author didn't offer a more intense sense of place. This minor flaw aside, The China Year is an intriguing novel by an important YA author. Ages 10-14. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991
Release date: 05/01/1991
Hardcover - 245 pages - 978-0-06-024384-5
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