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When you Trap A Tiger by Tae Keller is a story of family, relationships and the magic in everyday life in which, Lily, the Korean-American main character, discovers a secret about her family’s heritage. It all starts when she, along with her sister Sam and her mother Joan, go to visit her halmoni (grandmother in Korean) in Sunview. But when she comes across a tiger that looks like it is straight from one of her Korean folktales, something inside her starts to wonder how normal her family heritage actually is.

Unfortunately for Lily, trying to solve the mystery of a tiger straight from mythology isn’t easy, especially when the harshness of reality starts to show itself. Naturally introverted, Lily finds it difficult to make friends and fit in amongst people until she meets Ricky, a lighthearted rich kid from the other side of town who has more to him than his humorous outside. Together, the two of them set plans to trap the tiger and save her halmoni. But what if the tiger isn’t the villain of the story? What if there’s more to the tale than what Lily understands? Will she be able to conquer her fears and figure out what’s going on before it is too late?

One of my favorite elements of the book was its character development. I loved all the characters with their quirks and emotions and vivid personalities. I also really liked some of the character arcs and the extremely meaningful lessons that came out of it.

The best kind of books are those books which make you feel something. When I first started reading Tae Keller’s Newbery Winning Novel, I didn’t have too many expectations. I entered this book expecting adventure, mythology and an engaging character dynamic. But when I finished the book, I was left in a whirl. I felt as though I’d been following the thread of Lily’s adventures and emotions and thoughts until the very end of the story and then I was left with all the pieces left behind that made me feel a lot of this and helped me form an opinion on the novel.

When You Trap a Tiger is filled with all sorts of moments, both heartbreaking and heart racing, but this spellbinding novel will keep you hooked until the very end.

When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller. Random House Books for Young Readers, 2020. Buy the book here and support Stone Soup in the process!

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