cover image A Clash of Steel: A Treasure Island Remix

A Clash of Steel: A Treasure Island Remix

C.B. Lee. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $18.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-250-75037-2

Lee (the Sidekick Squad series) elegantly situates Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1882 Treasure Island against a richly embroidered Qing dynasty backdrop in this carefully crafted queer interpretation. It’s 1826, and Shi Xiang, 16, hopes her cold, seldom-around merchant mother will allow Xiang to leave the quiet village she was raised in for the big city of Canton. While ambitious, curious Xiang hopes to explore the city’s abundance and learn the ropes of her mother’s bustling teahouse and merchant business, her mother prefers a safe, domestic life for her. But after spending a magical day in Canton with quick-fingered Hoa Ngọc Anh, a 17-year-old Vietnamese sailor, Xiang wants more. When Anh steals Xiang’s gold pendant—the only memento Xiang has of her father, who was lost at sea—and a fire threatens the teahouse, Xiang is set to be sent home. But then Anh returns, and a secret the pendant holds changes everything. Inspired by female pirate Zheng Yi Sao, this deeply immersive adventure features deftly interwoven Chinese and Vietnamese, luscious culinary descriptions, and well-rendered explorations of imperialism, treasure, found family, and love. Back matter includes an author’s note, language notes, a pronunciation guide, historical notes, and recommended reading. Ages 13–up. Agent: Thao Le, Sandra Dijkstra Literary. (Sept.)