Saintsby Gene Luen Yang
China, 1898. An unwanted fourth daughter, Four-Girl isn't even given a proper name by her family. She finds friendship-and a name, Vibiana-in the most unlikely of places: Christianity. But China is a dangerous place for Christians. The Boxer Rebellion is murdering Westerners and Chinese Christians alike. Torn between her nation and her Christian friends, Vibiana
China, 1898. An unwanted fourth daughter, Four-Girl isn't even given a proper name by her family. She finds friendship-and a name, Vibiana-in the most unlikely of places: Christianity. But China is a dangerous place for Christians. The Boxer Rebellion is murdering Westerners and Chinese Christians alike. Torn between her nation and her Christian friends, Vibiana will have to decide where her true loyalties lie . . . and whether she is willing to die for her faith.
Boxers&Saints is a groundbreaking graphic novel in two volumes. This innovative format presents two parallel tales about young people caught up on opposite sides of a violent rift. Saints tells Vibiana's story, and the companion volume, Boxers, tells the story of Little Bao, a young man who joins the Boxer Rebellion. American Born Chinese author Gene Luen Yang brings his trademark magical realism to the complexities of the Boxer Rebellion, and lays bare the universal foundations of extremism, rebellion, and faith.
In the companion to Boxers, Yang shifts focus to Four-Girl, a mistreated Chinese girl who decides to become a Christian despite the heavy cultural stigma it carries. Although her initial reason for converting is misguided (she’s mainly a fan of the snacks she receives), she eventually embraces the religion and, inspired by visions of Joan of Arc, is spurred to become a “maiden warrior” for God. To prove her faith, Four-Girl (newly christened Vibiana) charges herself with defending Peking, which has become a refuge for foreigners and Christians from the approaching Society of the Righteous and Harmonious Fist. As in Boxers, the climactic battle is brutal; established characters meet their demises quickly and unceremoniously. Read separately, the books are honest and revealing character studies of two differing Chinese perspectives during the Boxer Rebellion. Together, they resonate electrically, partly due to their mirrored plots, but more so for capturing the historical context and dueling psychologies (the group vs. the self, national pride vs. spiritual pride) that underlie this political and cultural conflict. Ages 12–up. Agent: Judith Hansen, Hansen Literary Agency. (Sept.)
“A masterful work of historical fiction that happens to be in the form of a graphic novel, and a very accessible view into a complicated moment in Chinese history.” Dave Eggers
“In Boxers and Saints, Gene Luen Yang once again masterfully draws us into the most difficult issues of self-identity and communal understanding,with characters who struggle to act out of their deepestcultural and spiritual selves. But when they findthat their commitments lead them in terrible, frightening directions--one towardmassacres, another toward martyrdom--they must ask questions for whichthere are no easy answers. The brilliance of this novel--and I mean, aside from the brilliancein the telling of a major historical episode about whichmost North Americans know very little and whichprovides somecritical lessons in political relationships--the brilliance lies in the merger of fast action and humor and very real characters and startling graphics witha shattering senseof the brokenness of the world andour terrible need for compassion. Read this, and come away shaking.” National Book AwardFinalist and Newbery Honor winner Gary Schmidt, author of Okay for Now and The Wednesday Wars
Meet the Author
Gene Luen Yang began drawing comic books in the fifth grade. He was an established figure in the indie comics scene when he published his first book with First Second, American Born Chinese, which is now in print in over ten languages. American Born Chinese's critical and commercial success, along with its status as a National Book Award finalist and winner of the Printz Award, catapulted Yang into stardom as a major voice of our times. Boxers&Saints is his most recent graphic novel.
Gene Luen Yang is the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and is a MacArthur Fellow, a recipient of what's popularly known as the MacArthur "Genius" Grant. He began drawing comic books in the fifth grade, and in 1997 he received a Xeric Grant for his first comic, Gordon Yamamoto and the King of the Geeks. He has since written and drawn a number of titles, including Duncan’s Kingdom, The Rosary Comic Book, Prime Baby and Animal Crackers. American Born Chinese, his first graphic novel from First Second, was a National Book Award finalist, as well as the winner of the Printz Award and an Eisner Award. He also won an Eisner for The Eternal Smile, a collaboration with Derek Kirk Kim. He is the author of the Secret Coders series (with artist Mike Holmes) and has written for the hit comics Avatar: The Last Airbender and Superman. Yang lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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