The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every country around the world in a manner not seen since the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, and is perhaps one of the most transformative events in decades. Most countries and governments have played catch-up to the pandemic, trying to get a handle on case numbers after an explosive increase. But a few places: Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Vietnam and China appear to have kept the virus largely under control.

“Ivy Lin was a thief but you would never know it to look at her.” White Ivy, the debut novel by Susie Yang, is the story of Ivy Lin, a Chinese-American teenager growing up just outside of Boston, where she struggles to achieve the trappings of suburban teenagerhood. Years later, as a 27-year-old teacher haunted by confused feelings about her upbringing, she comes across characters from her past, which spurs a desire—perhaps an obsessive one—to remake her life. The novel has won rave reviews in publications and book clubs across the United States over the past few months.

Det, Chang and Lek are young university students living in Thailand during the 1970s. It is a turbulent time for the country’s politics: student-led protests in 1973 succeeded in (briefly) overthrowing the country’s military dictatorship. Det, Chang and Lek—three students from very different backgrounds—navigate the country’s changing politics from the streets of Bangkok to the jungles of northern Thailand.