Boxers tells the story of Little Bao, a regular kid with bossy older brothers who gets caught up in the rebellion when the Christians/foreigners/Chinese leaders (it turns out the Boxer Rebellion is super complicated) come to destroy his town. The other fighting-age boys train with a travelling martial arts master, but said master sends Little Bao off to meet an even stronger master who helps Little Bao harness the power of the Chinese gods to fight the invaders. Eventually he and his band of warriors take to the countryside and, um, kill everyone who does not stand with them, which is super not cool.
Meanwhile, in Saints, a girl who is given the after-after-afterthought name of "Four-Girl" and who is unsurprisingly ignored by most of her family discovers Christianity in a way that I will not spoil and devotes herself to the religion and the people who practice it. Where Little Bao has his Chinese gods, the renamed Vibiana gets to hang out with Joan of Arc, which is way cooler, and she turns to Joan for guidance throughout the story. She works to protect her fellow Christians from the roaming terrorists but of course that doesn't work out as planned for either side.
Both books provide a fantastic overview of the Boxer Rebellion for readers who are not familiar with that part of history. I love that Yang shows "both" sides of the story, Boxer and Christian, but also shows that each side has its own good and bad guys and that history and life are super complicated.
--Alison McCarty, Callahan Branch Library
Find Boxers and Saints in the Nassau County Public Library System catalog.