Let’s travel to the other side of the world for a little YA romance this week…
The images from the tsunami that devastated multiple countries off the Indian Ocean on Boxing Day 2004 are pictures that few can forget. For the people of Indonesia, however, the tsunami was more than mere photographs and videos. It completely swept away entire villages, destroyed homes and businesses, and killed an estimated 220,000 people. Although many of the casualties were children, the tsunami also left many children orphaned.
About now, you’re probably asking what happened to the YA romance I promised. I’m getting there…
Our protagonist, Sienna, is afraid of flying and the ocean, and has no desire to jump on a plane and fly for many hours over the Pacific Ocean to stay at an orphanage (technically, a pesantren, or school) in Indonesia. But her dad really wants to help kids who are suffering from the emotional trauma of the tsunami, so Sienna agrees to swallow her fears (with the help of a sleeping pill) and go along.
What Sienna doesn’t count on (yep, the romance part!) is meeting Deni while she’s at the orphanage. Deni is one of 200 orphans at the pesantren who came from the refugee camps in Aceh province. He’s striking, confident, a leader of the kids. He cares about the other children and stands up when he believes they are not being treated properly, even though he knows it makes the pesantren’s owner dislike him. Sienna is drawn to Deni immediately, and each time she sees him, her attraction grows.
This is a fascinating read. Aside from the adorable and steamy romance, there are a lot of other great aspects to this book. Many YA readers will be too young to remember the tsunami images the way adults do, so this may be their introduction to this devastating moment in history. Ms. Kling has sprinkled just enough detail about what happened, what a tsunami is, and how it impacted Indonesia to educate readers without them feeling that they are being “taught.”
Also, because the book is mainly set in Indonesia, Ms. Kling shares many details about daily life in that country, from wearing hijabs to only using the RIGHT hand for things to different religious and cultural beliefs. Again, Ms. Kling masterfully does this all without the feeling that we’ve moved out of the YA romance genre and into a non-fiction tome.
In case I missed anything really important, here’s the publisher’s synopsis of the book:
After her mother’s plane went missing over the Indian Ocean, seventeen-year-old Sienna Jones gave up everything she loved about living in California. No more surfing. No more swimming. No more ocean, period. Playing it safe, hiding from the world, is the best call.
Until her dad throws down the challenge of a lifetime: spend the summer with his humanitarian team in Indonesia, working with orphans who lost everything in a massive tsunami.
The day they arrive, Sienna meets a mysterious boy named Deni, whose dark, intense eyes make her heart race. Their stolen nights force her to open up and live in a way she thought she couldn’t anymore. When she’s with Deni, she remembers the girl she used to be…and starts to feel like the woman he sees in her.
A woman he wants for his own.
But when Deni’s past comes looking for him, Sienna’s faced with losing another person she loves. She can’t do it. Not again.
Fortunately, this time, she has a plan.
You can win a copy of Where I Found You by entering this GIVEAWAY. If you are too excited to wait until the giveaway ends, the book is also available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and directly from the publisher, Entangled Publishing.
Have you read any great books lately?
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