Her Rebel Highness

Abrams/Amulet. (Daughters of the Dynasty). Mar. 2022. 304p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781419749988.
Gr 9 Up–With this page-turning novel about sisters growing up in Beijing during the time of the Tiananmen Square protests, Ma delivers an endearing love story that takes place in the context of a dynamic political lesson. Lei and Jun, twin sisters whose family is among the wealthy elite in China, have been aware of their secret heirloom art collection hidden in a basement for years. When her mother reveals that Lei will inherit the responsibility of protecting this treasure, Lei is both honored and fearful. Going against her father, who is a top official in the Communist Party, Lei secretly begins participating in the student protests that have been gaining strength. She becomes connected to a group of college students, including Delun, with whom she becomes intimately involved. As the political situation takes a turn for the worse, Lei and her fellow democracy seekers face the unspeakable horror of the Chinese government’s revenge. Worst of all is that Lei knows her father may have something to do with the destruction of justice. Though Ma’s novel maintains a light, dramatic tone consistent with the YA genre, she provides a comprehensive, accessible political lesson about Tiananmen Square and the tragic issues affecting the Chinese people at that time. The interactions between the sisters and their friends are fast-paced and build suspense in both the personal realm and the more serious historical aspect.
VERDICT A compelling novel that covers an important time in Chinese history while also giving readers an enjoyable teen romance. Recommended for all libraries.

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