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Peasprout Chen, Future Legend of Skate and Sword

(Peasprout Chen #1)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  379 ratings  ·  131 reviews
Welcome to Pearl Famous Academy of Skate and Sword, where the blades are sharp and the competition is fierce.

Peasprout Chen dreams of becoming a legend of wu liu, the deadly and beautiful art of martial arts figure skating.

As the first students from the rural country of Shin to attend Pearl Famous Academy of Skate and Sword, Peasprout and her little brother Cricket have
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 3rd 2018 by Henry Holt & Company
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Henry Lien Thanks for your question. This book releases on April 3, 2018. Some Amazon orders have already shipped.
Henry Lien Thanks! I'm hard at work on it! In the meantime, there are two novelettes in this world: "Pearl Rehabilitative Colony for Ungrateful Daughters" and "T…moreThanks! I'm hard at work on it! In the meantime, there are two novelettes in this world: "Pearl Rehabilitative Colony for Ungrateful Daughters" and "The Great Leap of Shin". They're both available for free on my website. Please visit Note that "The Great Leap of Shin" is for a somewhat older audience than the PEASPROUT CHEN books. Thank you for the kind words!(less)

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peasprout chen is the best name i have ever heard. i genuinely want to name my future child peasprout chen.
Dec 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Kung Fu and ice skating come together in the art of wu liu at the Pearl Famous Academy of Skate and Sword. Chen Peasprout is a champion of wu liu from her home country of Shin, sent as a cultural exchange to the city of Pearl (a rough analogue of Taiwan to Shin's China). Along with her brother Cricket, they are desperate to prove their place at the academy, but struggle to do so while the Academy itself seems to be under attack, and them being blamed.

This is great. Peasprout is incredibly driven
Jeff Seymour
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-nadya-fans
I initially thought of this book as "kung fu Harry Potter on ice," and I meant it as a high compliment. But ultimately that description, while accurate, does it a disservice. Peasprout Chen does in one volume what took Harry Potter several: it starts off light and funny and ends up deep and profound. It belongs in company not just with Harry Potter, but with classics like A Wrinkle in Time, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and A Wizard of Earthsea. It is the best book, for any age, I have ...more
Darker and more adult in its themes than I expected, this book was still fun and exciting during Peasprout Chen’s first year at the Pearl Famous Academy of Skate and Sword.
Peasprout encounters bullies, interrogations and threats of espionage after she and her brother arrive in Pearl as part of an exchange of students between Shin and Pearl. I thought this would be a sports and hijinks-filled story at a competitive school. There was definitely a lot of sport, or increasingly difficult wu liu com
Nicole M. Hewitt
This fantasy world features a uniquely imagined blend of figure skating and martial arts. Right there, I was fairly certain that my youngest would love this audiobook, and I was right (he listened to the whole thing in like a day and a half). The worldbuilding in this book is surprisingly complex for a middle grade, which I actually appreciated, and I was amazed at how well I was able to picture the city of Pearl, a city designed specifically for ice skating (and constructed out of a mysterious ...more
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Rarely do I find a children's book I love as much as I do Peasprout Chen.

From the story, which is one of the most original I've ever read, to the main character who is so spirited and sassy I was in awe of her muchness and fell right in love with her! To the conflicts and agency and friendships and hateships, which were constant and always exciting, to the twist near the end that left my jaw hanging open like, "OMG! I did not see that coming!" Not to mention the quirky sayings, stellar world bu
Samantha Clark
I can't say enough great things about this book. The characters are wonderfully strong, insecure, funny, thoughtful, touching and so huggable. The world is so beautifully imagined and drawn, I want to live there. And the story is packed with action, laughs and tears.

I read this book as part of an ARC tour (with no expectation of a review) and can't wait to get the hardcover when it comes out in April. It's a gorgeous book that I know I'll read again, and really hope this is just the start of a s
The Library Lady
Okay, here's the review that doubtlessly will piss people off this week: instead of an "OMG, this is the best book ever, and I LOVE Peasprout!" this book is going on my various "overrated" shelves.

Since this has a skating element, let's just say thatIf this were a skating performance, I'd give it perhaps a 9 for originality, but 3 for technical execution. Like a hockey player getting tripped by an adversary, I found myself getting tangled in the plot, which whirls like a skater doing an axel and

i love peasprout and cricket so much!!

Rep: East Asian coded (Chinese & Japanese?) cast and settings, sapphic character, mlm side characters

CWs: child abuse, implied torture
Sadly, I didn't really like this. I wanted to. Figure Skating Martial Arts! Sounds cool, but I slugged through it. First, I never really understood what the point of wu liu. It seemed to be more than art, but it doesn't make logical sense to actually be a battle form. Second, I didn't like Peasprout. She jumped to conclusions too quickly, judged others and wasn't kind to her brother. She does learn and grow, but I didn't really like her as the main character.

2020 challenge: a book with more than
Becky B
Chen Peasprout and her brother, Chen Cricket, are sent as emissaries from the Empress Dowager of Shin to the wu lui school in Pearl. Peasprout is the best skater in all of Shin, she's a minor celebrity there, as is her brother. She has come to prove herself and will not except anything less than first place in rankings at the end of the year. She is up against some tough competition in the form of Doi, a princess, and Suki, a spoiled brat. Furthermore, the relationship between Shin and Pearl see ...more
Jan 14, 2020 rated it liked it

The final third of this book is excellent -- the revelations are great and well-handed, the ending is satisfying and sweet without being saccharine, it sets up the next book nicely, and Peasprout gets a huge amount of character development. The final third is enough to make me want to read the next book in the series.

Besides that, the romance was, at first, too fast for me and a little silly (and seemed to old for what felt like a middle grade book), but I loved the way it developed and what
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, middle-grade
As soon as I heard the phrase "martial art figure skating" a few months ago, I knew that I absolutely had to get my hands on this book, and it did not disappoint! This charming and compelling debut is not quite like anything I've ever read. Part mystery, part hero origin story, part totally rocking adventure, PEASPROUT CHEN is as engaging as it is heart-pounding. While you've got Olympic figure skating on your mind, definitely add this book to your TBR list. I promise that Peasprout and her skat ...more
Carlie George
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure: Henry is a friend, and I might be biased. Except I'm not because this book is awesome. I've never read an MG novel quite like this one before. Pearl is a fascinating, wholly original city, and I'm really impressed by how this story moves. Come for the girl power and the awesome blend of martial arts and figure skating; stay for the surprisingly nuanced politics and the set-up for what looks to be an even more fascinating Book 2. ...more
Freya Hooper
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Title: Peasprout Chen

Author: Henry Lien

Target: Grades 5-7

Series: This is the first book in a planned series

What this book is about:

Peasprout and her brother Cricket are from the country of Shin. They are attending the Pearl Famous Academy of Skate and Sword as part of a cultural exchange. They practice wu liu, a combination of martial arts and skating and Peasprout intends to be first in her class at the Academy. But the countries of Shin and Pearl do not trust each other and when the academy is
A.M. Morgen
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was utterly entrancing and unique. The setting was unlike anything I've ever read about or seen before. Although it was overwhelming at first to be exposed to an completely unfamiliar landscape, it was worth pushing through because every detail was so well conceived and woven into the story that each new revelation was a delight as it unfolded alongside Peasprout's journey.

I loved every twist and turn of the plot as Peasprout stubbornly followed her dream of becoming a champion. And i
Jessica Bayliss
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a fun, beautiful, and original book. Henry Lien's PEASPROUT CHEN transported me to Pearl, where the future practitioners of wu liu train. The world-building in this book is breathtaking from every angle. I won't write much for fear of spoilers, but I loved this book, it's brave, yet flawed, hero, and I thoroughly enjoyed sharing Peasprout's journey in a world where so much was not as it seemed. ...more
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Just wow. This book was one of my biggest surprises this year. Full review to come, but let's just say that if you're looking for a fun MG adventure, look no further than this bizarre mashup that I can only describe as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Harry Potter... on ice.

I read an advance copy of this book.
Morgan Dhu
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Peasprout Chen and her younger brother Cricket live in the land of Shin, where wu liu, the beautiful and deadly art of martial skating, was invented. Peasprout, who is fourteen and a prodigy at wu liu, and as such, she and Cricket have been selected by the Dowager Empress herself to study at the Pearl Famous Academy of Skate and Sword in a goodwill exchange - a mission that carries much responsibility, for the independant city-state of Pearl has taken preeminence in the great martial art and Pea ...more
Elisabeth Alba
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great fun! This was a bit of a departure from what I've been reading lately, and unlike any middle grade/YA I have read before. I absolutely love this world that the author, Henry Lien, created. The setting is unique, especially to someone more used to reading about western cultures, and brought me back to my past love of manga. He's created a believable world and iceskating/martial arts system in such a remarkable way. I'm a visual person, and could imagine the fantastical figure skating battle ...more
Margaret Hanson
Let's be honest, this book had me at "kung fu figure skating". The action sequences are really well done and exciting and this is coming from someone who doesn't actually like such things that much.

I did find the dialogue a bit clunky at first (I got a bit sick of "ten thousand years of stomach gas!" in the first few chapters), but I got used to it and by the end the excitement and mystery were enough to make me forget about that.

Initially I found Peasprout's overconfidence grating but on furthe
Christina Pilkington
I picked this book up because it was an Andre Norton nominee this year not thinking I would enjoy it that much. I'm not that into anime or manga- inspired stories, so it didn't seem like something I would enjoy.

That's why I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked Peasprout Chen! It turned out to be a cute, creative story. I don't think I'll continue in the series, but I'm glad for award lists that get me to read outside my comfort zone.
Jan 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Seems to have roots in British Boarding School fantasy, Hong Kong theater, ice skating, and just a whiff of Battle Royale. Our heroine is learning a martial art style that is done on ice skates. She is a good will ambassador of a ill willed empress. Bad parents, absent parents, cruel teachers, drunk monkeys and a utterly believable brittle heroine spin and slash their way through a city made of pearl. Fortunately, she makes a friend. Or two.

Good bus book.
Farah Mendlesohn
Jun 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
A rather good fantasy world and plot marred by the sexism. If you like “girls hate other girls” fiction you won’t mind this but I can’t bear it. Even the final friendship at the end didn’t work for me because it was pulled out of a hat.
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have a lot of conflicting feelings about thisss @__@
Feb 02, 2019 rated it liked it
A nice book! Definitely picked up near the end, but some strong characterisation/intrigue/twists, especially for a middle grade novel.
Jun 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
Really fascinating worldbuilding
Would love to see more on the minutia of the school
And the lessons
The political conflict feels like we're scratching the iceberg.
This would be great as a videogame.

Other things I've read/watched about this
A review by Janie Chang
Idina Menzel and I Perform the Theme Song from Peasprout Chen
Anne Beardsley
An otherworld adventure written in a particularly confusing present tense. The culture is a fantastic otherworld Asian (which was one of the things that made me pick up the book), but with no explanation the jumble of wild setting and heady Asian/modern Western culture mashup quickly overwhelmed me. It didn't help that I felt like the author left out all my favorite parts of each.

Then there's the fact that it promised martial arts (the other reason I picked up the book). Instead, it felt like a
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In Henry Lien’s debut middle-grade novel, PEASPROUT CHEN: FUTURE LEGEND OF SKATE AND SWORD, we meet Peasprout Chen, a spunky martial-arts figure skater from the mythical county of Shin. When she and her painfully shy younger brother, Cricket, are sent to the Pearl Famous Academy of Skate and Sword to hone their skills—and, Peasprout hopes, for her to become a future legend in the deadly martial-arts form of wu liu—Peasprout encounters more difficulties than she expected, including a posse of mea ...more
Apr 25, 2018 added it
Shelves: did-not-finish
Did not finish - I got about a third of the way through. The concept is unique and interesting, but the execution is flawed. I found the world in this book to be very confusing. The history, political dynamics, and even the make up of the world were never fully explained. Does the pearl material cover the entire land of Pearl? Does everyone have to wear skates to travel around? Why do they wear fog glasses? Why does the country of Shin want the pearl so badly? I also found Peasprout to be a bit ...more
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