Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Middle Grade
Length: Full Length (278 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 8+
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

This stunning fantasy inspired by Chinese folklore is a companion novel to Starry River of the Sky and the New York Times bestselling and National Book Award finalist When the Sea Turned to Silver

In the valley of Fruitless mountain, a young girl named Minli lives in a ramshackle hut with her parents. In the evenings, her father regales her with old folktales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man on the Moon, who knows the answers to all of life’s questions. Inspired by these stories, Minli sets off on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man on the Moon to ask him how she can change her family’s fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest for the ultimate answer.

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Who knew a goldfish could set Minli on the adventure of a lifetime?

Minli’s family works hard but are very poor. Yet Minli still finds joy in her life. She is captivated by the stories her father, Ba, tells every night. While Minli delights in her father’s tales, her mother, Ma, does not. Ma sees little use in telling stories of magic and treasure when their life is so dull and dreary. I found it extremely sad to watch Ma’s bitterness taint the happiness Minli found in the stories. In an attempt to change her family’s fortune, Minli buys a goldfish, which only further upsets Ma. Even though it is done unintentionally, Ma’s sour attitude has deeply affected Minli. Determined to change her family’s life and make Ma happy, Minli sets off on a quest to find the Old Man of the Moon and ask him how to change her family’s fortune. Can one small girl find the Old Man of the Moon?

Minli is a great heroine and role model for children. She is smart, resourceful, kind, and brave. She cares deeply for her parents as well as the friends she makes on her journey. When she leaves home, she isn’t running away from her parents or her life. She’s searching for a way to make it better. I must add I am extremely glad to see parents portrayed in a positive and loving manner. I have read too many books for children and teens in which parents are absent, indifferent, or neglectful. It is clear Minli’s parents love her very much and are anxious for her return.

Minli’s story is broken up by many small stories which are relevant to her journey, and I love how Ms. Lin wove all these tales and together. As I read, I began to see links forming between them. It was interesting to see how they all connected not only to each other, but also to Minli’s story.

Minli began her quest with the desire to change her family’s fortune. However, when she finally meets the Old Man of the Moon, she faces an unexpected dilemma and a difficult choice. I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say Minli’s response to the situation is beautiful, and I couldn’t have asked for a better ending to such a lovely story.

I had so much fun reading Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. It is a wonderful tale of family and friendship. I highly recommend it to readers young and old alike.


  1. […] Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin-I read this with my children, and it is delightful!  Here is my review. […]

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