Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

I didn’t mean to pick this book up, in fact I was looking for other middle grade novels entirely, but I’m glad I found Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. For one thing, isn’t this an awesome cover?

WhereTheMountainMeetsTheMoon

I don’t know how well the image shows up on screen, but the cover is detailed, with abundant, deep colours, fine lines, and an overall unity. But of course, a lovely cover is no good if the story inside doesn’t live up to it… and this one does. Or perhaps I should say the stories inside do, for there is one main story within which are many shorter stories which give the history and adventures of the many characters our protagonist, Minli, meets on her quest.

Minli’s family and village eke out a living at the foot of Fruitless Mountain. Life is hard, yet Minli blossoms because of the stories her father tells each night. However, Minli’s mother has lost both her patience with stories and any hope for a better life, and one day Minli runs away to change her family’s fortune.

Stories give life in this tale. Readers familiar with traditional Chinese tales will recognize a few familiar friends, while readers who are not will find an easy welcome into a rich mythology. Both independent agency and a strong sense of interdependence, trust, love, and belonging – social and familial order at its best – are depicted here. I particularly admired the characterizations of familial love and the affection between friends. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon particularly excels is in the warmth of the characters and the wonder of change, as inward transformations precede and effect outward alterations in circumstances .

Beautiful – highly recommended.