I cracked this book open as my flight to Boston took off, and finished it 5 hours later. I didn't even look up for my little bag of pretzels — Li Jing's journey is just that compelling. Celeste Lim's well-crafted magical realism takes the reader right into Song Dynasty China — from impoverished farming communities to wealthy households in the big city — and adds talking animals and shape-shifting spirits to help Li Jing find happiness in a society that doesn't value girls. Though intense at times, this charming novel reads like a classic folktale. A must-read for fans of Grace Lin! Recommended By Carrie L., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Wonder, mysticism, heartache, and joy are the stones that set the path to one girl's journey as her destiny unfolds.
In the village of Huanan, in medieval China, the deity that rules is the Great Huli Jing. Though twelve-year-old Li Jing's name is a different character entirely from the Huli Jing, the sound is close enough to provide constant teasing — but maybe is also a source of greater destiny and power. Jing's life isn't easy. Her father is a poor tea farmer, and her family has come to the conclusion that in order for everyone to survive, Jing must be sacrificed for the common good. She is sold as a bride to the Koh family, where she will be the wife and nursemaid to their three-year-old son, Ju'nan. It's not fair, and Jing feels this bitterly, especially when she is treated poorly by the Koh's, and sold yet again into a worse situation that leads Jing to believe her only option is to run away, and find home again. With the help of a spider who weaves Jing a means to escape, and a nightingale who helps her find her way, Jing embarks on a quest back to Huanan — and to herself.
"This hopeful coming-of-age story weaves together historical facts and spiritual/cultural beliefs to tell a tale of empowerment from the perspective of a poor, young female — one of the lowliest members of society in medieval China." Kirkus Review
About the Author
Of Chinese descent, author Celeste Lim was born and raised in Malaysia, where she spent the first seventeen years of her life envious of the children she read about in English storybooks. Now, she has the desire to give the same gift — the awareness of exciting worlds that exist beyond where we live — to children through her own writing. A graduate of the MFA in Writing for Children program at The New School, Celeste lives in Queens with her Pomeranian, Hamlet. The Crystal Ribbon is her first novel.