The Crystal Ribbon

Celeste Lim. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-545-76703-3
At age 11, Li Jing is sent away from her beloved father and brothers, and married off for five pieces of silver. Her family assures her that she will be cared for by the Guos, but she is instead greeted by a life of servitude and harsh beatings. As a tongyang xi, Jing serves as caregiver for her three-year-old child husband. The Guos, in financial straits, sell Jing to a chinglou, where she is to become a courtesan. Refusing to resign herself to this life, she escapes with the aid of forces both human and magical. Set in 1102 C.E. in medieval China, Lim’s debut viscerally captures the harsh realities of Jing’s life. Despite the often difficult circumstances, Jing is surrounded by people and forces willing to help her, rewarding her kindness and persistence. These supportive presences, coupled with Jing’s encounters with magical spirits and the noble feats she accomplishes throughout her journey, give Lim’s novel a mythical air. Well-researched historical elements meet rich fantasy in this tale of determination and devotion. Ages 8–12. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/05/2016
Release date: 01/31/2017
MP3 CD - 978-1-5366-8130-7
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