Lensey Namioka, Author . Delacorte $15.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-385-73002-0

Picking up where Namioka's Ties That Bind, Ties That Break left off, this novel opens in 1921 China, where Ailin is about to set sail for America. Ailin's classmate and friend Yanyan, who narrates here, travels to Shanghai to bid her farewell; Eldest Brother and his friend Baoshu serve as Yanyan's chaperones. Baoshu's mixed heritage (a father who served as a Chinese imperial officer and a Manchu mother) offers Namioka an opportunity to explore the mounting tensions in China over beliefs about who can best unite the country. However, the author does not delve deeply enough to give readers a clear sense of the issues at stake. Instead, she concentrates on Yanyan's adjustment to American culture, when the heroine enrolls as a student at Cornell. A romance ignites between Baoshu and Yanyan, who then turns down Baoshu's proposal that she run away with him; later L.H., a fellow Chinese student, also gradually shows signs that he wants more than friendship. Yanyan must decide what she wants for herself and from a partnership. Namioka covers (literally) so much ground (Yanyan's boat trip to America, her cross-country rail trip from Seattle to Cornell, her visit by train to Ailin in San Francisco during her school's Christmas break, etc.) that many of the characters and relationships are fleetingly portrayed rather than fully developed. Some readers may be satisfied with the conclusion, but others may wonder if Yanyan ever fulfills her dream to become a doctor. Ages 12-up. (June)

Reviewed on: 07/08/2002
Release date: 06/01/2002
Hardcover - 208 pages - 978-0-385-90053-9
Mass Market Paperbound - 197 pages - 978-0-440-22973-5
Open Ebook - 98 pages - 978-0-307-43309-1
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-7569-2974-9
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