Dreams of Joy by Lisa See
In this sequel to Shanghi Girls, Pearl travels to Communist China to rescue her idealist American daughter and bring her home.
Lisa See is perhaps my favorite author. I love her attention to detail, her fleshed-out characters, and the variety of her Chinese-based stories. While Peony in Love and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan are still my favorites, Dreams of Joy did not disappoint.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
While Death goes about his grisly work, he becomes fascinated by a German girl who steals books during the upheaval of World War II.
This book is long and slow, but the writing is fantastic and Death is a superb narrator. (He is by leaps and bounds the most interesting character in the book.) I wish Death had chosen a more interesting story to tell, but all in all I was pleased with this novel.
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
When soldiers take Sarah and her Jewish family away from their homes in the middle of the night, she locks her brother in a closet with a promise to come back for him, not knowing she would be taken to a concentration camp.
This is a sad story in which sad things happen and everyone gets sad. The characters then either get divorces, commit suicide, or act mopey. It's good for people who watch Lifetime.