The Library of Legends by Janie Chang

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China, 1937: When Japanese bombs begin falling on the city of Nanking, nineteen-year-old Hu Lian and her classmates at Minghua University are ordered to flee. Lian and a convoy of students, faculty, and staff must walk a thousand miles to safety, a journey marred by the constant threat of aerial attack. And it is not just the refugees who are at risk: the group has been entrusted with a priceless treasure, a five-hundred-year-old collection of myths and folklore known as the Library of Legends.

Lian finds friendship and a cautious romance with the handsome and wealthy Liu Shaoming. But after one classmate is murdered and another arrested, Lian realizes she must escape before a family secret puts her in danger. Accompanied by Shao and the enigmatic maidservant Sparrow, Lian makes her way to Shanghai, hoping to reunite with her mother.

On the journey, Lian learns of the connection between her two companions and a tale from the Library of Legends. This revelation comes with profound consequences, for as the ancient books travel across China, they awaken immortals and guardian spirits who embark on an exodus of their own, one that changes the country's fate forever.