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When You Trap a Tiger

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  196 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Some stories refuse to stay bottled up...

When Lily and her family move in with her sick grandmother, a magical tiger straight out of her halmoni's Korean folktales arrives, prompting Lily to unravel a secret family history. Long, long ago, Halmoni stole something from the tigers. Now, the tigers want it back. And when one of those tigers offers Lily a deal--return what
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published January 28th 2020 by Random House
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Average rating 4.38  · 
Rating details
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I'M NOT OKAY 😭 full review to come after I recover
Lorie Barber
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was in a bit of a reading slump when this book came to me from the publisher via a member of my reading group. Ill be forever grateful that it did.

You never know what a book will truly be for you until you read it. It might give you the gift of humor. It might show you the world in a new way. Or it might help heal a part of you that is broken.

Sure, I could describe When You Trap a Tiger as MG magical realism. But when a book acts as a window and a mirror (Sims Bishop, 1990) simultaneously,
Alex  Baugh
"Long, long ago, when tiger walked like man..."

It's the summer before Lily begins seventh grade, and her widowed Korean American mother suddenly decides to move her and older sister Sam from their home in California to Sunbeam, Washington, to live with their Halmoni, who is very ill. Lily claims that her one superpower is the ability to make herself invisible, or what her sister calls a QAG - quiet Asian girl, unlike Sam who is always able to fit in and get along with people. But neither girl
Roubeeni Mohan (bookish_owl06)
Disclaimer: I received this ARC from Times Reads in return for my honest review

Tackling grief, loss, family dynamics and cultural heritage, this book combines wonderfully contemporary events with folk stories or family stories and traditions handed down from one generation to the next. I really appreciated how Lily wasn't perfect and made some big mistakes, and how real the conflict between Sam and her mother appeared to be, just as the mother of the girls had substantial differences with
Sep 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-years, 2019
I'm just not a magical realism person. This story confused and frustrated me. There's a good heart here but it's not the book for me.
Jen (Pop! Goes The Reader)
Did you find this review helpful? Find more of my reviews at Pop! Goes The Reader!

I am a girl who sees invisible things, but I am not invisible.

Lily is so used to being invisible, shes convinced its her super power. Its especially difficult to speak up when her outspoken older sister, Sam, is doing enough talking for the both of them. (What Sam doesnt realize is that shes already rocking our boat. If I rock it, too, the boat will flip. Well drown.) It becomes difficult to remain quiet, however,
Allison Parker
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Lily feels invisible. Her older sister scoffs at her quiet nature, labeling her a QAG - quiet Asian girl. But Lily doesn't really think she has magical abilities, until she sees an enormous tiger in the road on the family's way to their beloved and eccentric Halmoni's house. The tiger, reminiscent of her grandmother's stories, appears to Lily, and only Lily, even speaking to her about her Halmoni's fate. The beast promises Lily that she will help her Halmoni, whose health is failing, but only if ...more
Abby Johnson
This is a lyrical, magical portrait of a girl coming to accept the imminent death of her grandmother. It deals with the power of story and what it means to have a family and to be part of a family. Lily is a kind of misfit kid whos used to being invisible and when her family loves in with her grandmother she begins to make some different kind of friends in the new town.

Hand to fans of Erin Entrada Kelly.
Jadora R.
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ava Budavari
A gorgeous story about grief, ancestry, family and love, When You Trap A Tiger is a beautiful middle fade you wont want to miss. The writing is stunning and the story will touch anyone of any age deeply. Pick up your copy on January 28, 2020. ...more
Jen Petro-Roy
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade, arc, ebook, 2020
Just beautiful.
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
STUNNING. More to come!
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received this book as an ARC through the bookstore I work at.

As a Middle Grade book, I loved it. It's easy to read without talking down to kids. It tackles the hard stuff with hope, love, and magic. I loved the representation and how Keller included different aspects of her culture. But, mostly, it was just a really good story where our main character got to be a hero and learns about the power of stories (which I am ALWAYS on board for.) I had fun with the characters and enjoyed the whole
Mar 30, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Ever since she was a small child, Lilys Halmoni has told her stories about tigers and warned her of their duplicity. When Lilys family moves to Washington and she sees a tiger in the middle of the road, she learns that the stories her Halmoni told her are tangled with half-truths, stars, and family secrets. In an effort to save her Halmoni from her terminal illness, Lily traps the very tiger that she was warned about but will it help heal Halmoni, or will the terrible stories grow teeth?

Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
Lily, her mother and sister move in with her elderly Korean grandmother. In the small town, Lily soon discovers that everyone knows and loves her grandmother, who wears glamorous clothes and tries to offer advice and help to her community. Halmoni has always been special to Lily too, sharing stories of tigers, girls and stars with her and her sister. So when they are heading to Halmonis house and Lily sees a tiger out of the car window, she knows its from her grandmothers tales and that tigers ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Miz Lizzie
While in the car on the way to her grandmother's house, Lily sees an enormous tiger in the road. The tiger is hunting for the stories the Lily's halmoni (grandmother) stole from her. Lily, her older sister Sam, and mother are staying with Halmoni for the summer because, it turns out, Halmoni is seriously ill. Lily thinks she can save her grandmother, if only she can be brave enough to face the tiger and hear her stories. This is an interesting story of a family in crisis that draws on Korean ...more
Kristin Crouch
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to the author for sharing a review copy with Collabookation.
There is so much love in this story, it kept me fulfilled all the way through. Lily, her mom, and her big sister have just unexpectedly up and moved in with Halmoni (the Korean word for grandma). Lily treasures time with her Halmoni, and they bond over Korean tales. But when Lily starts seeing the tiger her Halmoni has always warned her about, she realizes that some stories can take hold of us.
This book is about lots of
Laura Gardner
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ for this gorgeous book by @tae_keller

Lily, her sister, and her mother have moved in with her sick Korean American grandmother, her Halmoni. Lily feels lost -- shes shy and quiet in normal circumstances, but now with her beloved grandmother sick she feels especially unmoored. When Lily encounters a magical tiger, she makes a deal -- she will return the stories her grandmother stole in exchange for healing her grandmother. Lily is assisted in her task by a new friend, Ricky, as well as
Liz Friend
Mar 27, 2020 rated it liked it
The story: Without warning, Lily and Sam's mother moves them to Oregon to live with Halmoni, their Korean grandmother. Sam is angry, but Lily is astonished--and frigthened--to see an enormous tiger blocking the car on their way into town. As she has more encounters with the tiger, Lily comes to realize that it is far more than a dangerous is a mythical creature, which possibly has the power to heal her grandmother--as long as Lily will listen to its stories. Little does Lily ...more
Cassie Thomas
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Why does hope always come at a price?

Lily, her mom, and sister move in with her sick halmoni (grandmother) without fully understanding the meaning behind why they had to pack up and leave their lives. When a tiger starts appearing to Lily, she suddenly realizes there is a lot more to her Halmoni and her illness that what she truly understood. The tiger offers Lily a deal, one of which promises to heal her Halmoni - but Lily has grown up hearing her Halmonis stories of how not to believe the
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Katie Reilley
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to the author & publisher for sharing an ARC with our #bookexpedition group!

Lily and her mother and sister are leaving their California home behind to move in with her sick grandmother (Halmoni) in the state of Washington. After years of listening to warning stories about tigers, a magical tiger just like the ones from her Halmonis Korean folktales arrives and offers Lily a deal that may help her grandmother. But Lily knows that tigers cant be trusted and has a difficult choice to
Feb 26, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery-2021
Halmoni is Korean and when she lived in Korea she stole painful stories from under the noses of magical guardian tigers and hid them away in star-jars so she wouldn't have to hear them. Now, it is present-day Washington and Halmoni is sick with cancer. Lily is her granddaughter who is out to trap the tiger and make a deal with the magical tiger who's stalking her family. If Lily can find and open the jars, freeing the stories, then the tiger will heal her Halmoni. The only way to free the ...more
Aileen (Allie) Barton
Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Title: When You Trap a Tiger
Summary: While 7th grader Lily, her older sister, Sam, and their widowed mom are moving to take care of their sick Halmoni, Lily sees a tiger. Fearful of what this means, she tell her Halmoni. Her Halmoni explains that she stole stories from this tiger and the tiger has come to take the stories back. Through magical realism, the author tells a story that proves that stories belong to no one and sometimes it is through stories we process trauma and pain.
LS Johnson
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Magical Realism.....hmmmm....not usually my favorite. But in this book, its the vehicle to deliver a message about the worth of families, the ability to deal with deep grief, the amazing strength of women and the value of heritage. This is jumping to the top of my 2020 favorites list. Some favorite quotes from the book: When you believe, that is you being brave. Sometime, believing is the bravest thing of all. And also: Everybody have good and bad in them. But sometimes they so focused on sad, ...more
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When You Trap a Tiger is a magical story about the power of stories and how they can shape a person, and about the family history, strong Korean women (grandmothers, mothers, sisters), and unexpected friendships. When Lily and her mom and sister move back in with her Korean grandmother (halmoni), she runs into a tiger from her halmoni's tales. Before long, Lily finds herself making a deal with the tiger in an effort to save her grandmother and finding herself in the process. This books is so ...more
Mar 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, lis-672, folklore
I loved this so much; the writing is fun, touching, and full of unique imagery. When You Trap a Tiger is a beautiful magical realism story surrounding Korean folklore exploring several themes. Sisterhood. How remembering the good and bad, and embracing the different aspects of ourselves, help us define who we want to be in the present. That we all have a story worth telling. We all have our own special superpower. And that "Sometimes, believing is the bravest thing of all." I also didn't expect ...more
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TAE KELLER grew up in Honolulu, where she wrote stories, ate Spam musubis, and participated in her schools egg drop competition. (She did not win.) After graduating from Bryn Mawr College, she moved to New York City to work in publishing, and she now has a very stubborn Yorkie and a multitude of books as roommates.

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