An Ocean Apart, A World Away by Lensey Namioka
Set in China in 1911. 16 yr old Yanyan live in the city of Nanjing with her parents and two older brothers. Things are changing in China, and Yanyan's father believes girls should get an education. Some people give Yanyan strange looks because of her unbound feet. She attends a school for missonaries taught by Americans.
Yanyan has always dreamed of becoming a doctor. Marriage never crossed her mind. Though a boy has caught her eye, Baoshu. He is a friend of Yanyan's oldest brother, martial arts expert who craves dangerous adventures. Yanyan is forced to choose between following behind Baoshu or going to college to follow her dream.
Yanyan decides to put herself first and go to abroad to college. She attends a small college in Upstate, New York. Yanyan goes by her American name Sheila. She slowly beings to adapt and make new friends. I loved the boy Yanyan ends up with.
LH is not embarrassed that Yanyan knows some martial arts and can save him from bullies. When the time comes LH uses his strength to return the favor. Yanyan corresponds via letters with her best friend Ailin. The two have been close ever since missionary school. Ailin now lives in San Francisco.
Namioka seamlessly includes information about the on going politcal changes in China into the storyline. I felt like I really got to know Yanyan. She smart, strong and determined. I loved her friendship with Ailin. An Ocean Apart A World Away is the first novel I've read by Namioka and it won't be the least. ages 11up