cover image The Fire Horse Girl

The Fire Horse Girl

Kay Honeyman. Scholastic/Levine, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-545-40310-8

Sixteen-year-old Jade Moon was born in the unlucky year of the fire horse, making all her faults “burn with increased strength.” In 1923 China, she is trapped in a small town where she is vilified by neighbors and ignored by her father and grandfather. Hope arrives in the form of a man named Sterling Promise, who needs Jade Moon’s father’s help getting into America. Jade Moon joins them, though she doesn’t entirely know why (“Women are brought to America either to be wives or prostitutes,” Jade Moon is warned en route. “You may have dreams, but your father and Sterling Promise have plans”). Debut author Honeyman faces head-on the racism and hardship that awaited Chinese immigrants; when Jade Moon’s application for entry is denied, she steals Sterling’s identity and papers, ending up in San Francisco’s Chinatown disguised as a man. Historical details create a strong sense of setting, and readers will recognize (well before Jade Moon does) that her inner fire is an asset, and that she’s much more than the sign under which she was born. Ages 12–up. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Jan.)