I'm very excited about today's recommendation because it is a book by one of my favorite authors, Sharon Shinn. I love all of her books, whether adult or young adult, but her YA novels in particular are exactly the sorts of books I want to write.
I picked General Winston's Daughter to recommend, not because it is necessarily my favorite of her books (though I do love it), but because it is the one that has stayed with me the longest. The theme of respect for culture in the book resonated with me when I first read it and still grips me every time I think about it. Yet despite the clear message it is not a heavy-handed story. The characters and situations are very realistic and compelling.
Averie Winston is a young heiress, who leaves her familiar home in order to stay several months in the foreign city of Chesza, where her father and fiance are stationed. The city is exotic, resistant to rule by Averie's native Aeberelle, and exceedingly hot... and Averie loves it from the moment she first arrives.
She comes to Chesza expecting six romantic months in an exciting city. What she finds is increased awareness of the world, heartache, and unexpected love as she comes to understand her own heart. Averie learns to care for the people of Chesza and for their culture. She discovers where her passions truly lie.
I think we all need to read thought-provoking books like this one. If the qualification for a good book is that it changes us in some way for the better, then this is an excellent book. Pick it up and savor the experience of reading it.