Monday, October 5, 2009

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

Hey, reader guys, it's the CARLMAN once again and, before I tell you about this fantastic new book, I want to brag about you all for a minute. You all constantly surprise and please me with your ability to read good stuff and show what people say about boy readers isn't always true. For instance, some say that guys don't read. Period. Or that guys stop reading after 4th grade. Well, all the reviews you've sent show differently. Some say that guys read only stuff with gross and/or potty humor. I'll never forget one guy telling me that one of the reasons he liked the Percy Jackson books was they didn't rely on all that. Another big myth is that guys won't read books with girls as main characters. I know for a fact that's not true because some of you have written reviews and said that you liked the book even though the main character was a girl. (I saw a couple of guys today curl up in the library with Nancy Drew graphic novels!) What guys want is a GOOD STORY. Give us that and we'll like it. Well, here's one with a girl as main character and it was amazing.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin takes place in ancient China. Minli (whose name means "quick thinking") and her parents live in the shadow of Fruitless Mountain, a big, gray, barren rock of a mountain. Their lives are as hard and barren as that mountain. They break their backs every day to grow just enough rice to keep from starving. Her father tries to keep their spirits up by telling stories but her mother just sinks deeper into bitterness. When a traveling goldfish man comes to their village, Minli learns (from the goldfish!) that she can change her family's fortune by finding the Never-Ending Mountain and seeing The Old Man of the Moon, Minli sneaks off late at night on her quest. Along the way she meets a dragon who cannot fly, talking stone lions, The City of Bright Moonlight, and a fearsome green tiger. Does Minli ever get to change her family's fortune? You'll just have to read to find out!! But I will tell you this--things change in a way Minli could never have predicted!!

This is one terrific book, guys! It's not a slam-bang action fantasy like The Lightning Thief but it will keep you turning pages. I definitely had to find out what happened nest! And Grace Lin (that's her on the right) has a great gift for creating a "tale of great wonder." Do you remember that I said in my review of Erec Rex: The Search for Truth that what marks the truly great fantasy from the merely good one is the "sense of wonder"? The sense of seeing amazing or beautiful or terrible things you couldn't see anywhere else? That's what she brings to this story. You'll NEVER forget the rope bridge to the moon, the king's moon pavilion, or the fight between Dragon and the Green Tiger. This book made me sit and say, "Wow!!" over and over again. As I said, this is one terrific book!!! And did I tell you that Grace Lin is one fan-tastic artist!! There are several full-page pictures done in the ancient Chinese style that will knock your eyes out!!

One more thing--this book was made for people who love books! Some stories could be read on a computer or an e-book and it wouldn't make any difference. Not this one! The illustrations, the smooth pages that feel so good, the different styles of fonts all add up to a book you want to pick up, hold, read, and enjoy. You can't do that with an electronic machine!!

So get this one!! And come to Imaginon this Saturday and meet Grace Lin and other authors at the Word Play Saturday, part of the library's Novello Festival of Reading.


T said...

I hadn't considered it (because I don't have an e-reader yet) but you're right... it just wouldn't be nearly the same experience without the fonts!!! So glad I got a chance to read this one :)

Iron Guy Carl said...

Isn't this a terrific book? Wonder how it would look on a Nook?