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Lalani of the Distant Sea

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4.03  ·  Rating details ·  795 ratings  ·  203 reviews
There are stories of extraordinary children who are chosen from birth to complete great quests and conquer evil villains.

This is no such story.

Sometimes, you are an ordinary child.

Sometimes, you have to choose yourself.

This is the story of Lalani Sarita, a twelve-year-old girl who lives on the island of Sanlagita in the shadow of a vengeful mountain. When she makes a
...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Greenwillow Books
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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Erin Kelly
Jul 26, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Hello, readers. I don't typically interact with my work on GoodReads, but several readers have asked for more information about the creatures in LALANI OF THE DISTANT SEA (which is such an incredible compliment and honor, by the way) so I wanted to share more about the folklore.

The creatures in LALANI are inspired by Filipino folklore, but are not direct depictions of them. With some exceptions, they are largely (but not wholly) born of my imagination. To learn more about how Philippine
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Lata
I wish I were familiar with the myths and stories of the Philippines, for I think I would have appreciated better how Erin Entrada Kelly wove them into this story of an island village surrounded by a dangerous sea and the brave girl at its centre.
There is drought on the island and fear and rituals aplenty amongst the villagers. Lalani is looked down upon by others, though she does have a few good friends. When her mother falls very ill, Lalani decides to find a way to heal her. She undergoes
...more
Abby Johnson
Wowza, this books packs a punch. In this fantasy novel based on Filipino folklore, ordinary kids turn out to do extraordinary things just by having good intentions and never giving up. This is a dark, rich, powerful story that verges on scary at times. I'd hand it to readers of The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill for a unique fantasy story with crazy good world building or readers of The Thickety by J.A. White who like a dark fantasy with strong heroines.
Sai at theengineerisreading
Have your ever read a book that connects so much to you it feels like it's seeing through your soul? In my case, Erin Entrada Kelly's MG fantasy debut, Lalani of the Distant Sea, will be THAT book. Because even though the narration did not clearly state that the story has Filipinx MCs and setting, the entirety of the storyline screams Filipino pride.

First, let me just tell you that this book is rich with Filipino folklore and mythology so wonderfully reimagined, it will make yourself more
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Rebecca
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Inspired by Filipino folklore Erin Entrada Kelly's new book Lalani of The Distant Sea will keep you reading late into the night - kids get your flashlights ready! This is a middle grade fantasy novel which follows the life and adventures of Lalani Sarita, a 12 year old girl, who may seem quite ordinary but when faced with danger she bravely goes on a quest that takes her to a legendary Island where she finds the courage and the tenacity to persevere. Kelly has a wonderful way of writing about ...more
Hannah
Jul 02, 2019 added it
Shelves: middle-grade, 2019
The Girl Who Drank the Moon meets The Jumbies. So good!
Nicole Ozanich
3 1/2 stars
I’m really torn. If I read this book for itself alone, with no outside influences, I really enjoyed and appreciated it. But, is is SO similar in so many ways to the Disney Moana story that I cannot rate it higher. How has this gotten so many raving reviews with that being overlooked? Girl’s tropical island home is suffering, she sets out on a journey, in a small boat with an animal companion, across a sea other’s cannot pass, to return a higher being’s treasure and save their island.
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Mila
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
The digital arc of this book was kindly provided by the publisher via Edelweiss+ website in exchange for an honest review.

I loved the other two novels I've read by Erin Entrada Kelly but this one is probably my least favorite one so far. I still really enjoyed it though, I was simply not a fan of the way it was structured and the fantasy elements were quite confusing, in my opinion. It was still a great story with an uplifting message and a rich cultural background.
Blodeuedd Finland
When it comes to fantasy then MG works so well, they are always nicer, not angsty, and it is always the ordinary ones that save the day.

Lalani is an ordinary girl, not braver, not faster or anything else. She loves her mum, she loves stories and her friends.

She lives on an island and all those on the island dream of another island that is better than theirs. So they send ships so find it, but no ships ever come back.

The author draws from Filipino mythology, and that is a real treat. The book
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Haydn
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lalani of the Distant Sea is a beautiful medley of folklore and fable. It is wonderfully written, and I found myself devouring page after page at every opportunity.

The book is darker than I thought it would be, which is in no way a bad thing. There is violence. There is death. But there is also a happy ending (don't worry; it's not overly cheesy). There is one character who got on my last nerve at points, but by the end of the book, he had redeemed himself enough to be deserving of a second
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Mayra
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, books-i-own
There are some books
where you turn the last page
and want to start reading all over again.

There are some books
that are puzzling
yet throughout the reading
you develop a trust
it will all come together at the end.
And it does.

There are some books
who have characters
with traits you carry in your soul,
but hide to the world.

There are some
unforgettable books.
This is one of them.

Read it.
Trust it.
Allow your mind
to be taken on this magical ride.
DaNae
I'm going to reread this. The audio and fable construct kept me at a distance. I never felt immersed with the characters, they often felt like vehicles to 'get the point across'. So many new terms and proper nouns were introduced it was difficult for me to keep them straight without the text in front of me.
Darla
Jan 07, 2020 rated it liked it
A book with beautiful potential that seemed to be too long when I was reading it, but too short to tie up all the loose ends when it was over. It reminded me very much of Moana -- but a version where she waits to set sail when the movie is half over. Lalani had some beautiful imagery and themes, but it was also darker and bloodier than I expected and full of cryptic passages about strangely named creatures. It would have been great to have more illustrations of the shek, the wallecta, the ...more
Adrienne
Don’t let the beautiful and bright colours of this cover fool you.
This story is full of dark Filipino folklore + wonder—just what my heart needed. Adorned with gorgeous illustrations, each page is rife with magic and heart. I can't wait for Little Me to read this, it's so up her alley: magic, a little scary, an adventure, brave girls, and some creepy but fantastic creatures.

This would make an AMAZING film. I could see it clearly in my mind the entire time I read. Think Pan's Labyrinth! In
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Shealea
I will eventually have a full review up and ready, but for the time being, let's make one thing clear: This book is unapologetically Filipino. It draws from various Filipino folklore. It centers Filipino characters. It illustrates the importance of community and bayanihan, which are highly regarded virtues in Filipino culture. THIS IS FILIPINO.

I am genuinely pissed off at the reviews that write off this incredibly unique story because their ignorance of other people's cultures has led them to
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Brianna
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A million stars to this gorgeous, heartfelt completely wonderful middle-grade. Erin Entrada Kelly is such an incredible author and her debut fantasy is a must-read for all middle grade readers. Lalani's story is inspiring and beautiful and fantastically woven with myth and hope.
Meg
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: youth-fantasy, arc
Where The Mountain Meets the Moon + Moana.
Books on Stereo
Whimsical, ethereal writing coupled with a meandering plot made Lalani of the Distant Sea a chore to get through.
Mikaela Prestowitz
A beautiful blend of Moana, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, a hiiiint of City of Ember, and Kelly's distinct take on Filipino culture and mythology. If I'd read this when I was twelve, I can imagine it easily becoming my favorite book. Reading it now, I still adored Lalani, Sangalita, and Kelly's world-building but the ending felt too rushed to actually be satisfying. Still loved everything leading up to the end though!

4/5 stars
Candice
Lyrically and wonderfully written.
Stay with this one. The beginning felt so helpless and grim and unknown to me. But I was intrigued by the Filipino folklore, being a fan of folklore in general and unfamiliar with these creatures and stories, so I kept reading.
I loved the chapters that gave the reader insight on the different creatures--the Weeping Loset and Ditasha-Vlod were favorites. Lalani's story of Anya with the shell made me tear up.
The idea of an ordinary girl having the courage to do
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Cara
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book and I cannot wait to buy it in hardcover when it comes out. High point of BookExpo for me was snagging a copy right at the end, when I thought I’d missed my chance. I hope someone decides to option this for film because it would be absolutely stupid not to. The end. :)
Eilis
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really beautiful and original!
Laura Gardner
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Gorgeously written and endlessly atmospheric.
Danielle
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Perfection.
Kathie
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Edelweiss+ and the publisher for an eARC of this book.

Lalani of the Distant Sea is an engaging story about a girl on the island of Sanlagita desperate to change the future as she sees it. When her attempts to change the fate of her fellow townspeople go horribly awry, Lalani sets out to find a way to rewrite her destiny by journeying to Mount Isa across a sea from which no one has ever returned.

I truly enjoyed Lalani's story. The visual imagery was vivid, and the descriptions of
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Mary
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
LeeAnn
3 stars. I'm really not sure how I feel about this book by Kelly. There were things I liked: the Filipino folklore connection, a interesting mix of characters, and a female character questioning the norms of her society. Yet those same things were also part of things I had problems with. The short "aside" chapters sprinkled throughout the main story line may have provided background and other info that eventually played into the storyline but they were also a distraction that disrupted the flow. ...more
Destinee Sutton
I started out with the audiobook, but I did not like it at all. The narrator's inflections were unusual and overall her voice wasn't engaging for me. It was nice to know how to pronounce words I'd never heard before, but I enjoyed the print book a lot more.

When I switched to print, I couldn't put it down. It's easy to compare this book to things I love: MOANA, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, and the Rick Riordan Presents books. I like a good scare, too, and this had some nightmarish
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Kier Scrivener
I simply adored this book, Erin Entrada Kelly has an amazing talent of weaving mythology, worlds and characters into a beautiful mosaic of story. The writing is lovely and lyrical.

It tells a story of Lalani Sarita and her town, it is a story of stories and a story of grim reality of poverty and abuse of power, of friendship and betrayal. Of shame and of bullying. Of mythology and folklore inspired original stories. Of fear and of courage.

If you love middle grade or not, I recommend this lovely
...more
Naomi
Oct 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Super enjoyed this book! A couple of things stood out to me as odd and not necessarily in a good way, but they are all spoilers. (view spoiler) ...more
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