A classic, mystical coming of age story, The China Garden by Liz Berry avoids the irksome clichés prevalent in its genre. It follows Clare, a young woman recently uprooted from London and dropped deep in the country, as she fights to save the home she has only just found, and discovers her soul mate, her destiny, and herself.

The is no pretense of a damsel in distress scenario, Clare is a strong protagonist, but she does not seem to need to prove this to the reader, as the heroines of so many books that are more propaganda piece than story do.

The China Garden is also a romance, and here again avoids the usual problems. Although it is Clare’s story, Mark, her love interest, is a far cry from the non-entity Disney prince charming, and the illustration of their mutual infatuation goes hand in hand with a tribute to the beauty of loving, symbiotic partnership.

 Magical, soulful, and intelligent, The China Garden is the perfect young adult romance, and can easily be enjoyed by older readers as well.