When the Sea Turned to Silver - Grace Lin

Pinmei's gentle, loving grandmother always has the most exciting tales for her granddaughter and the other villagers. However, the peace is shattered one night when soldiers of the Emperor arrive and kidnap the storyteller.

Everyone knows that the Emperor wants something called the Luminous Stone That Lights the Night. Determined to have her grandmother returned, Pinmei embarks on a journey to find the Luminous Stone alongside her friend Yishan, a mysterious boy who seems to have his own secrets to hide. Together, the two must face obstacles usually found only in legends to find the Luminous Stone and save Pinmei's grandmother--before it's too late.

This National Book Award Finalist is an incredible book, weaving together stories told by various characters and creating a narrative of incredible depth and complexity. Lin's text is magical from start to finish, examining the ways that storytelling informs, entertains, and also contains grains of truth. As Pinmei and Yishan adventure further and further into the lore and the land, Pinmei learns about her own history as well as the secrets of the world in which she lives, including immortals, dragon horses, half-fish princesses, and underwater kingdoms. I love the incorporation of the folk tales with the main narrative and really appreciate the way that each tale further informs Pinmei's perspective on her grandmother, the kingdom, and Yishan himself.

I can definitely see why the NBA jury decided to shortlist this book for the 2016 award, and I would not be the least bit surprised to see it win! Highly Recommended!


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