A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
On a remote island in the Pacific Northwest, a Hello Kitty lunchbox washes up on the beach. Tucked inside is a collection of curious items, including the diary of a sixteen year-old Japanese girl named Nao Yasutani. Ruth, who finds the lunchbox, suspects that it is debris from Japan's devastating 2011 tsunami. Once Ruth starts to read the diary, she quickly finds herself drawn into the mystery of the young girl's fate.
In a manga café in Tokyo's Electric Town, Nao has decided there's only one escape from the loneliness and pain of her life, as she's uprooted from her U.S. home, bullied at school, and watching her parents spiral deeper into disaster. But before she ends it all, she wants to accomplish one thing: to recount the story of her great-grandmother, a 104-year-old Zen Buddhist nun, in the pages of her diary. The diary, Nao's only solace, is her cry for help to a reader she can only imagine.
Young Adult category
The Cats of Tanglewood Forest by Charles de Lint
Lillian Kindred spends her days exploring the Tanglewood Forest, a magical, rolling wilderness that she imagines to be full of fairies. The trouble is, Lillian has never seen a wisp of magic in her hills--until the day the cats of the forest save her life by transforming her into a kitten. Now she must set out on a perilous adventure that will lead her through untamed lands of fabled creates--from Old Mother Possum to the fearsome Bear People--to find a way to make things right.