The Atlas of Forgotten Places by Jenny D. Williams, 361 pages
When idealistic aid worker Lily suddenly goes missing in Uganda, her aunt Sabine must travel to a region beset by civil war in attempt to track her down. At the same time, Rose, an Acholi woman living in Uganda, is working as a translator for a Swiss anthropologist when her boyfriend, Ocen, also disappears. These two searches eventually combine, leading Rose, Sabine, and Christoph (the Swiss anthropologist) on a dangerous trek that forces them all to confront their pasts and their assumptions of the present.
When I first picked up this book, I was afraid it would be incredibly depressing, bloody, and bleak — after all, it is set against the backdrop of the very real Operation Lightning Thunder, a 2008 bombing initiative against the Lord's Resistance Army that failed massively (it led to the deaths of nearly 900 civilians). Instead, the book strikes a more hopeful tone, illuminating the universality of loss while still respecting the horrific experiences of those who live near conflict. I ended up really enjoying this book.