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Book Review

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…

Along the River

by Adeline Yen Mah

Overall Book 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.

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

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:


Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

My mother was the one who sparked my love of books. Long before school instruction, she sat me down and taught me to read. My childhood was filled with trips to the library and bookmobile to find great books. My first loves were The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Pippi Longstocking series by Astrid Lingren. Now as a mom and speech pathologist, I am constantly looking for good, clean books to use at home and in therapy. I enjoy reading many different genres, but my favorites are usually historical fiction. I married my best friend, the “boy next door”, and we have a beautiful little girl who we often find sprawled out on the floor, flipping through picture books. Together our family likes to swim, run and play tennis. Besides reading, I also love to bake, garden and travel.