Publisher's Note:  

Bestselling Chinese American author Adeline Yen Mah weaves her authentic accounts of life in China into an absorbing novel about a Chinese girl and her vision of a previous life.
After a fall, CC is whisked away to a hospital. As she drifts in and out of consciousness, she is haunted by vivid dreams that seem strange—yet somehow familiar. Thus begins CC’s emotional journey back to a privileged life lived eight hundred years ago during the Song dynasty.

CC is the daughter of a wealthy and influential man, but she finds herself drawn to a poor orphan boy with a startling ability to capture the beauty of the natural world. As the relationship between these two young people deepens, the transforming power of art and romantic love comes into conflict with the immovable rules of Chinese society.

This stunning fantasy adventure novel, inspired by China’s most famous painting, Along the River at the Qing Ming Festival, tells the story of a friendship both tender and bold. CC’s remarkable journey reminds readers that though time moves on, art and love endure.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Random House Children's Books

Along the River

by Adeline Yen Mah

Review Date:

Recommended Age:

Overall Rating:

Profanity / Language Rating:

Violence / Gore Rating:

Sex / Nudity Rating:

Overall Review:  

Along the River is a quick read that explores the importance of art and the challenges of growing up. Author Yen Mah offers vivid descriptions of ancient Chinese life during the Song Dynasty. Readers will be entertained by the book's fascinating details about cricket fights, calligraphy, and jade carving, to name a few.


Though the amount of detail was astounding, the pages were often too heavy with facts and lacked enough dialogue to keep the story moving. Several events seemed too unbelievable and unlikely, even for a fairy tale. The two time periods (modern day and Song Dynasty) lacked cohesion and the ending was suprisingly abrupt and without closure. Along the River is a quick read for those interested in learning more about ancient Chinese culture.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language: ***


Violence/Gore: A secondhand account indicates two people were killed in a fire. An individual recalls his father being stabbed and dying from his injuries. A woman slaps a child and attempts to bind her feet, breaking several of the child's toes. 


Sex/Nudity: There are a few discussions about eunuchs, including an explanation referencing castration. 

Mature Subject Matter:  

Socioeconomic conflict.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  


Reviewed By Rachel
No image available