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About The Book


Bound to her late father's second wife and daughter. Bound to a life of servitude as a young girl in ancient China, where a woman is valued less than livestock. Bound to be alone, with no parents to arrange for a suitable husband. Xing Xing spends her days taking care of her half sister, Wei Ping, who cannot walk because of her foot bindings, the painful tradition for girls who are fit to be married. Even so, Xing Xing is content to practice her gift for poetry and calligraphy, and to dream of a life unbound by the laws of family and society.

But all of this is about to change as Stepmother, who has spent nearly all of the family's money, grows desperate to find a husband for Wei Ping. Xing Xing soon realizes that this greed and desperation may threaten not only her memories of the past, but also her dreams for the future.

About The Author

Photo Credit:

Donna Jo Napoli is the acclaimed and award-winning author of many novels, both fantasies and contemporary stories. She won the Golden Kite Award for Stones in Water in 1997. Her novel Zel was named an American Bookseller Pick of the Lists, a Publishers Weekly Best Book, a Bulletin Blue Ribbon, and a School Library Journal Best Book, and a number of her novels have been selected as ALA Best Books. She is a professor of linguistics at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, where she lives with her husband. Visit her at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (August 1, 2006)
  • Length: 192 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780689861789
  • Ages: 12 - 99

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Raves and Reviews

"A dramatic and masterful retelling." -- School Library Journal, starred review

"An adventure and a coming-of-age story that will have readers racing to the finish." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Deliberate and satisfying." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Strong, unforgettable characters." -- Booklist, starred review

Awards and Honors

  • School Library Journal Best Books of the Year
  • CCBC Choices (Cooperative Children's Book Council)
  • Thumbs Up! Award Top Ten Title (MI)
  • Kentucky Bluegrass Award Master List
  • ALA Best Books For Young Adults
  • Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults
  • Kansas NEA Reading Circle List Junior Title
  • Charlotte Award Suggested Reading List (NY)
  • PSLA Fiction List
  • Publishers Weekly Best Books
  • Chicago Public Library's Best of the Best
  • Kirkus Editor's Choice
  • NYPL Best Books for Teens
  • Westchester's Choice
  • Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award Master List (VT)

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More books from this author: Donna Jo Napoli