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Along the River: A Chinese Cinderella Novel

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  362 ratings  ·  57 reviews
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 emoti
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published September 14th 2010 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2010)
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Average rating 3.51  · 
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Brandi Kosiner (Brandi Breathes Books)
Along the River is really the story of Mei Lan, a privileged chinese girl in the Song dynasty. There is a sweet friendship between her brother Gege, and the servant boy- Ah Li who is an amazing artist with lots to teach Gege, and Mei Lan.
CC is a young woman and the conduit to our story. When she slips and falls, she wakes up drawn to a painting from ages ago, and with strange dreams. Through hypnosis, she relates to her doctor her memories, which is the life of Mei Lan and her adventures.
Aug 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
2 1/2 stars

Reviewed for

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 m
Jun 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Adeline Yen Mah's book, Along the River, for young adults was a pleasant read. She created a fictional world based on some historical facts from China's Song Dynasty.
Adeline, I thought, did a good job bringing the reader into the story. CC is a young girl who takes a fall and has to go to the hospital. While there, she undergoes hypnotherapy and tells the story of a completely different person, Zhang Mei Lan, who supposedly lived during the 11th and 12th centuries in China. The weaving of the
Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)
More of an infodump about Chinese culture--especially during the Song Dynasty when most of this novel takes place--than an entertaining story. I actually thought this was MG for a while, but it's apparently YA? Eh. I gave up after about 70 pages or so when I started skimming.
Nov 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-school
Interesting book and a good read- reminded me of reading Amy Tan when I was in high school.
Mar 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Aloka
In the 1940s of China, a young girl named CC has an accident of falling down a roof and she regains visions and hallucinations of her past life while recovering in rehab. So one day after her doctor has recorded his conversation with her past life spirit (?), he lets her listen. So begins the tale of a young daughter of a nobleman in the capital city and her friend, Ah Li.

I started reading this book because I thought it would be interesting, and give me a lot of historical facts, but I was w
Sep 29, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm not usually a fan of young adult fiction, but this random library grab was thought provoking, well researched, and immersive. It didn't fall flat or make the common mistake of treating it's intended audience or young adult characters as shallow, weak, or stupid. As a former young person, that is my chief complaint about young adult fiction.

The historical immersion is excellent and well done. Fans of young adult fiction will probably give this four stars.
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Monica Sheffo for

CC is a young Chinese girl whose own misfortune landed her in a hospital in a coma. When she reawakens three weeks later, she feels and appears fine.

That is, except for an unusual obsession with a painting called "Along the River at Qing Ming".

A session with a hypnotherapist reveals the unthinkable. CC is possessed with the spirit of Zang Mei Lang, a young girl from the Song Dynasty, desperate to tell her story. ...more
Jeanne Jing Ting Toh
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
Bought this book back in secondary school because it said Chinese Cinderella. I had just finished CC as my literature book in secondary 1 and really enjoyed it. After that I realised this is a fiction book and not a CC continuation (how smart of me then not to have read the summary first), so I didn't really pick it up. Recently I was tidying my room and came across this MG book which I haven't read, so I thought why not? Wouldn't take more than a few hours anyway.

Given that the leve
CC is running away from a woman who scared/startled her while at the Chinese market in Feng Jie. She almost makes it, but then she falls and is knocked unconscious. She wakes up in a hospital. Recovery seems to be taking longer than expected so the doctor decides to hypnotize her and see if there is something else going on. Listening to the tapes of her session, it's revealed that CC has memories of being a young Chinese girl named Mei Lan over 800 years before. Mei Lan was the daughter of a wea ...more
Nov 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Actual rating: 3 1/2 stars.
Intriguing story. The beginning was a bit boring, but once they got to Mei Lan and everyone, it got pretty good. I really liked Ah Zhao and Mei Lan, and how she grew over the course of the story.
One thing I don't understand, though, is why it's a Chinese Cinderella. The only similarity was the stepmother and she didn't seem evil to me exactly. I mean, there were some nasty things about her to be sure, but she hardly seemed like the main antagonist. Actually
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Diana Nguyen
Apr 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
The premise for this novel was a romance set in Song Dynasty between two lovers in different social classes. A girl from a well to do family and a barbarian orphan fall head over heels for each other.

I loved the premise for this novel, but the author focused too much on historical details such as the ranking system for nobles, castration, foot binding, and etc. It mentioned the origins of several famous Chinese paintings. Granted, there aren't many historical fiction books out there for young a
Feb 13, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiftyfiftyme
This book was written for young adults, but it seems very basic, compared to other excellent young adult books like Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, etc. There wasn't a lot of character development, but even more annoying is that I didn't feel like it really captured any of the flavor of 11th century China. The characters behaved much like modern people and it just wasn't believable to me. I should have stopped reading it, but I'm one of those people who j ...more
JiaMin Luo
Feb 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
CC fell down from the roof. She sees herself living eight hundred years ago, during the Song Dynasty in China. Her name was Mei Lan, she had an older brother and a good friend/servant named Ah Li. And Ah Li was very good at painting and calligraphy.
I love the transition part of the story from the character CC to MeiLan. CC fell and hurt her head. Therefore, out of unconsciousness, CC was able to see herself living as MeiLan during the SOng Dynasty. Then MeiLan fell down while escaping from
Rachel Lim
Aug 21, 2013 rated it did not like it
I hated it and I if could help it, I'll put no star at all. This book is a far cry from Falling Leaves which I've read many years ago and if my memory serves me correctly, it was a great book and nicely written. I dislike the way the story was written. I dislike how the story evolve so quickly without depth. I dislike the fact that there're not much dialogue in this book. Okay... I barely reach 1/10 of the book and I'm judging so harshly. Seriously...... CC(Chinese Cinderella)??? I'm gonna have ...more
Mel Raschke
The book is easy to read and flows well for a younger age group, but the plot is slow moving and hard to get into. The characters are all likeable, but the story just seems to be an account of their daily lives. The time transition is strange. The book starts off in 1942 (CC's story) only to quickly switch to 1104 (Mei Lan's story). Which wouldn't be so bad, except that there are some very Western phrases that completely blow the ambiance of the 1104 setting.
Mar 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
This books had some real flaws in the writing style. Parts of it were super childish and other parts the author was clearly trying too hard. A good portion of the book gave me the impression that it was written by a child.

Might be okay for young kids but considering her other works this one is just strange.
May 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Omg this book was so good, although it was short, it was great, not going to go into the story, I don't want to spoil it. But the detail and descriptions given in the book and time period were very vivid, as I was reading I could actually picture in my mind the places and people. For me this is what makes a book great I felt like I was there in the story. Definitely would recommend..
Sep 26, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
i thought i would try a second Chinese Cinderella book and i disliked it more than the first i had read. this one basicly has her fall of a roof hit her head end up in a hospital where she stares at a painting and the doctor hypnotizes her and she "relives" a past life that has to do with said painting. was not impressed.
I thought this book was another look at Adeline Yen Mah's life growing up as an unwanted daughter, but instead she wrote a fictional story about Chinese Cinderella. CC suffers from a fall and relieves experiences she had in a past life in the Song Dynasty. While somewhat informative on life in the Song Dynasty, I found this book to be a bit boring and hard to get through.
Khantey Lim
Feb 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
I never read any Asian books before in English and this is a great start of Asian books. At first, when I chose this book from the shelf, I got attracted to it with this beautiful Chinese woman and the title, Chinese Cinderella.
However, when I first read it, it didn't sound the same as the Europe Cinderella at all. Later on, it's getting more and more fascinating that I couldn't put it down.
The plot had so much potential, but I'm sorry, it's just didn't cut it for me. I was looking forward to a fiery romance between star-crossed lovers, but there was none. I was disappointed and the way the emperor acted did not do well with me.
Jan 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I recommend this YA novel to everyone who enjoys reading about different cultures.Set in China, this story combines modern and ancient worlds of Chinese culture and family life in a tale of love and friendship.
Christina Noll
Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Just finished this book for the #underhypedreadathon it had less than 300 goodreads ratings. It was great: 5 out of 5 stars. Historical fiction, Chinese culture, some words in Chinese characters (English translation in parenthesis), art, poetry, reincarnation! Fantastic book!
Jul 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
I was expecting this book to be better than it was. It was an interesting concept, but just seemed to fizzle out. The story just seemed to end without anything really happening. It's probably good it was such a short read or I would have lost interest and stopped.
Sep 22, 2013 rated it did not like it
Kinda boring. Factual. Doesn't end well and the relationship between the two lives doesn't make any sense.
Along the River was, overall, not too bad. I think the idea is interesting; but I also think the writer could have played it out a little better than she did.
Mar 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
good buck i really wanted to know what would happen next
Kathy Chung
Aug 13, 2014 rated it liked it
different cover different title but same story as the Mystery of the Song Painting
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Adeline Yen Mah (Chinese: Yen Jun-ling; Pinyin: Mǎ Yán Jūnlíng; Yale (Cantonese): ma5 yim4 gwan1 ling4) (official birthday 30th November 1937, however real birthday not known, this is in fact her father's birthday) is a Chinese-American author and physician. She grew up in Tianjin, Shanghai and Hong Kong with an older sister, Lydia; three older brothers, Gregory, Edgar and James and a younger half ...more