BTW: at the National book Festival a couple of weeks ago, I found out that Gene Leung Lang a) is a Middle School teacher, and b) just got a MacArthur Prize! Cool!
All of Gene Leung Lang's books that I have read so far are complicated, a little confusing, and in the end-- for me-- utterly uplifting. His American Born Chinese got a Printz award, and is also pretty amazing, so go check that out, too. Saints focuses on a fictional heroine living in China at the time of the Boxer Rebellion, who begins seeing visions of Joan of Arc, eventually converts to Christianity, and in the end gets caught between the warring factions in her region. There are no easy heroes in this story, but there are utterly real characters who make me want to be a better Christian myself-- without (I think) being didactic or preachy or manipulative. Read it yourself, and tell me what you think.