"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."


Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Author: Donna Jo Napoli
Publisher: Atheneum
ISBN-10: 0689861753
ISBN-13: 978-0689861758

Bound is the most wonderful Cinderella story I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. It’s based on a classic Chinese tale and it is simply beautiful.

Xing Xing, also called Lazy One by her stepmother is lonely and mistreated after the death of her father. She often goes down to the pool near her family’s cave and communes with a beautiful white carp that she comes to believe holds the spirit of her dead mother. She dreams of poetry and practices her calligraphy whenever she can. Her stepsister Wei Ping lies in pain all day long due to her badly bound feet, so Xing Xing has to do all the work. When her stepmother sends her on a mission to sell medicine to a traveling doctor, Xing Xing’s adventures begin and she begins to find her own strength and value as a person.

Once she returns to her village, Xing Xing finds life even harder. Her stepmother kills the beautiful white carp and Xing Xing is devastated. She digs in the garbage heap to find the bones of the fish she believes was her mother reincarnated and then digs deep into the cave to hide the bones. In doing so, she finds a beautiful gown and other things her mother left there for her. Xing Xing wears the gown to a village festival and attracts the eye of a handsome prince.

Donna Jo Napoli writes such a strong and moving story. The characters are wonderfully complex and interesting. It’s an incredible survival story and one of great depth. While Bound is set in ancient China, the story is very much a 21st century story with a strong female heroine who stays true to herself in the face of incredible adversity.
About the Author:
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 Association Pick of the List, a Publishers Weekly Best Book, a BCCB Blue Ribbon, and a School Library Journal Best Book, and a number of her other novels have been slected as ALA Best Books. She is the head of the linguistics department at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, where she lives with her husband and their children.

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