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The Crystal Ribbon

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  378 ratings  ·  98 reviews
In the village of Huanan, in medieval China, the deity that rules is the Great Huli Jing. Though twelve-year-old Li Jing's name is a different character entirely from the Huli Jing, the sound is close enough to provide constant teasing-but maybe is also a source of greater destiny and power. Jing's life isn't easy. Her father is a poor tea farmer, and her family has come t ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published January 31st 2017 by Scholastic Press
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juicy.lemon Yes, during some scenes when her brother writes her letters but they're simple.…moreYes, during some scenes when her brother writes her letters but they're simple.(less)

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Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  378 ratings  ·  98 reviews

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Sep 04, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
What a wonderful and totally unexpected read! Ahhh my heart feels swollen with happiness.

- Interweaves fantasy/folklore with historical fiction! A really great book set in Imperial China and also educational as well! (I learned so much!)
- Has a gorgeous protagonist by the name of Li Jing who is sold to another family to become the nursemaid and wife to a young boy of another family.
- And it has SUCH an amazing adventure!! I feel like I've grown up with
Jul 01, 2016 marked it as to-read
Set in medieval China,

it tells the story of Jing, a girl sold by her family

to become the bride of a three-year-old husband,

and follows her escape and mystical journey,

in which her destiny is foretold by a golden fox spirit.

The book is slated for publication in 2017.

Laura (bbliophile)
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, diversity
I finished an audiobook in 2 days? I've never done that before, so that says a lot about how much I loved it! I'm just a tad bit disappointed about the ending tho, because I wish things were wrapped up a bit better than they were. But the book is excellent and I'd really recommend it to anyone! Full review to come ...more
Apr 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A lovely story of resilience, friendship, family, and magic. :)
Ms. Yingling
Dec 18, 2016 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Li Jing has a difficult life in medieval China. Not only is her father a poor tea father, but she is made fun of for her name, which sounds similar to the name of the deity of her Huanan province, Huli Jing. When her parents can no longer afford to feed her, she is sold as a bride to the three year old son of a wealthy family. At first, she misses her own family and is bitter, but she takes care of her husband and finds that he is not a bad person. However,
Abby Johnson
A richly depicted historical fantasy novel about a young girl sold away from her family to abusive in-laws who helps and befriends jing, animal spirits.

I think that kids who like the journeying adventure of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon would like this book as well.
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! Jing is such a lovingly rendered character. Though she faces incredible adversity, Jing's sense of self carries her through. I loved the thoughtful way she considers and adapts to her fate and how she ultimately realizes her own power. There are many other things to love about this book but what will stick with me is the journey Jing takes to find her way back home to herself. ...more
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazing amazing amazing!
Elizabeth ♛Smart Girls Love Trashy Books♛
Jul 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommended to Elizabeth ♛Smart Girls Love Trashy Books♛ by: ♠ Tabi⁷₈⁷ ♠

The ironic thing is that this was recommended to me by somebody, and the day they recommended it to me was the very same day I got it from the library, lol. So I thought that was kinda funny.

I feel bad that I don't like this as much as other people did. I know it's a childrens' book, but I judge them as if they were any book, since my mind is very childish and I find I can get entertainment out of stuff like this far easier than other people. So I try not to be too harsh on
Apr 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Li Jing is often teased because her name is so close to that of the guardian spirit of her village: Huli Jing. When she talks to the oracle/revered wise woman of her village, however, she is assured that her name is a good, strong name and that her fate is entwined with that of Huli Jing. This is important because she will experience many things that will test her strength, courage, and character.

Strong female character. Loved the setting. Hard to believe this was a debut novel. Well-written and
Jan 16, 2018 rated it liked it
This is on the mock Newberry list at my public library so I picked it up. It’s just really not my cup of tea, but I can respect that it taught me more about medieval China and the story is well told. That’s all I got.
Lindy MacLaine
Feb 01, 2019 rated it liked it
This author is sort of an Amy Tan for kids... sweeping story, strong characters.
Lisa H
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Parts of it were heavy but the story was beautifully told and I really liked the ending. I love that the more magical/supernatural parts of this world were made so real.
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: authors-of-color
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I need more!! I'm praying that there will be a sequel to this - there was one massive unanswered question so I'm take that as a sign that there will be a sequel.

I honestly adored this book from start to finish, and it surprised me more than once. It also made me a lot more emotional than I expected. I feel like it could have been longer though, with more details - but that's only because I loved it so much and am now sad that it's over. It was interesting to learn about what medieval China was l
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade, 2017
Even though I had previous versions of this, I found the story compelling and beautiful and sometimes scary. So proud and excited that Celeste's book is out in the world. ...more
Feb 10, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. This was a depiction of historic China and its weird rules about marriage. Throughout the story, there are also many Chinese legends embedded about jing, spirits both kind and evil. There’s not much I can say about this story. Also, there are Chinese characters shown through the book, so you may want to read this for those.
Karly-Lynne (storybookcook)
May 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021-priority
CW: child abuse, child marriage, commercial sexual exploitation of children

Celeste Lim’s The Crystal Ribbon is a beautifully written and engrossing story that is difficult to review due to its challenging subject matter which includes child marriage and trafficking. The book does not include any form of sexual abuse but as an adult reader I felt the threat of sexual violence hovering over the entire story which made for a difficult reading experience. The inclusion of Chinese mythological creatu
Amanda - Cover2CoverMom
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, audiobooks
You can read all my reviews on my blog -> Cover2CoverMom

Set in medieval China, The Crystal Ribbon is the story of Jing, a 12 year old girl who is sold into an arranged marriage into the Koh family to be the wife and nursemaid to a 3-year-old little boy.  Life with the Koh’s is not a happy existence, but things get even worse when the Koh’s sell Jing into an even worse situation in order to pay off some debts… Jing decides she must escape and find her way back to her family and the home she grew
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished this audio book and really enjoyed it! I loved the main character's personality and storyline. This middle grade book is amazing to listen to because of the detail of the plot and world. It was absolutely fantastic to also read about the 'spiritual'/fantasy aspects. This audiobook just really helped eat up all the time I was washing dishes and what not. I would highly recommend!

full review:
The Crystal Ribbon is a true gem. At times unbearably heart-wrenching, its story moves unhurriedly but never stagnates - instead, it allows the space for its protagonist, Li Jing, to learn and grow. The novel manages to address themes of self-discovery, culture, familial ties, friendship, and spirituality with grace and sensitivity. Even when Jing's circumstances grow painfully cruel, the The Crystal Ribbon thrums with hope and magic, and the resolution of the novel tied in beautifully with Jing ...more
Elle (ellexamines)
Again, it's a middle grade novel. It's cute. There's nothing else. I'm not typically a fan of middle-grade, so when I do pick up an mg book on a recommendation, I expect something mind-blowing. This isn't mindblowing in any way, shape, or form.

This isn't a bad book by any means. I've always loved feminist fairy tales, and this was a great example. The ending was especially good.

* I received a copy of this via my local bookstore. This does not impact my review in any way.
Debbie Tanner
This terrific middle grade fiction book is part historical fiction, part fantasy fiction, part coming of age and finding yourself story. The characters are interesting and well written. The plot moves fast and has a lot of exciting parts. There is some fairly mature innuendo in part of the book, so it's probably too big for most elementary schools. ...more
Jessica F
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade, fantasy
Reminiscent of Homeless Bird, Peony in Love and Memoirs of a Geisha all at once, this captivating story also has a magic of its own that sets it apart. I absolutely loved it!
Kier Scrivener
This is Celeste Lim's debut novel that is set in medieval China with a quiet mythology integrated into the story and world and I believe that this is what Lim did best. She tells a story on her website about how her family relocated to Malaysia four generations back and she ell in love with the stories of Western fairytales and novels and only as an adult when she moved to Australia and then New York did she fall in love with her own culture. She weaves this mythology as one intimately familiar ...more
I don't know much about ancient China; that's probably why I kept thinking about Mulan as I read this? *sigh* I am wishing that I knew more about EVERYTHING (throwing my arms wide like Madam and twirling around); okay, calming down now--sometimes my ignorance is staggering! I only pay attention to what interests me, and then when I read a book like this--yes, I fully realize that this is a Children's Historical Fantasy that blah blah blah shouldn't be taken seriously blah blah blah grownup talk- ...more
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed The Crystal Ribbon a lot. Jing was a strong, female lead who stood on her own two feet throughout the story, never acting or being treated as a damsel in distress. I rarely come across novels that focus on women or young girls going on journeys to find themselves, and I loved the book for this. Jing goes through a lot of hardship, but it doesn’t make her cruel, it doesn’t harden her soul, it simply steels her will. I genuinely loved seeing this in a story. Too often, women who have str ...more
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Li Jing has always shared a connection with her village's spiritual guardian, the Great Huli Jing. It is not something that she understands, or even claims to want, but as her life unravels, it will help her forge her own path. The Crystal Ribbon brings readers to the distant past of medieval China, where Li Jing lives with her poor family in a small village. As is expected of girls, Jing is to marry, but she never thought it would happen so soon. You can't help but feel great sympathy for Jing ...more
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was ok

This book features a 11-year-old girl named Jing who is sold off into a marriage with a 3-year-old to a wealthy family. Over the course of the novel, Jing ages to 13. My library has this book in the juvenile fiction section, but the story deals with many very adult subjects, even though they aren't explicitly stated.

This book started off so rough. Jing was in a terrible situation that was also difficult and disgusting to read about, so some negativity is warranted. But her voice was way too
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Floral Tea Cups B...: "The Crystal Ribbon" by Celeste Lim 1 1 Jul 01, 2019 11:29AM  

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