cover image An Arrow to the Moon

An Arrow to the Moon

Emily X.R. Pan. Little, Brown, $18.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-316-46405-5

Pan (The Astonishing Color of After) twines Chinese folklore—the story of Houyi and Chang’e—and Romeo and Juliet to deliver a unique contemporary novel about two star-crossed lovers. Luna Chang and Hunter Yee, both 17 in 1991 America, feel pressured by their Taiwanese emigrant parents: Luna’s supportive folks expect her to attend Stanford; Hunter’s tense family expects perfection following his father’s past mistakes. Both born on a night during which a star fell “in reverse,” then cracked in half before landing, the teens’ initial encounter seems clearly destined, leading quickly to budding attraction. But as they learn about their families’ feud, and subsequent meetings reveal that their physical interactions cause inexplicable phenomena, the strange appearance of fireflies, a supernatural wind, and an ominous crack that spreads across Fairbridge only bring them closer together, much to the horror of their parents. Expansive, third-person chapters—including some from the adults’ perspectives—and snippets of lore create a contemporary telling with an otherworldly, age-old feel in this cleverly conceived novel. Ages 14–up. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Apr.)