“When the Sea Turned to Silver” Is Golden
By ALP TURGUT
Grace Lin’s “When the Sea Turned to Silver” is centered around Pinmei, a shy girl from a small mountain village, her grandmother the Storyteller, and Pinmei’s friend Yishan. The Storyteller is well known by everybody for the quality of her stories, which she tells in a tall mountain hut where she and Pinmei live. Nobody ever sees Pin because she is so shy that she always hides when people are around. Life seems perfect until one day the Storyteller wakes Pinmei up and hides her. Yishan also arrives to help her hide safely and protect her from the danger. The evil emperor’s soldiers burst into her home. They take away the Storyteller and burn the house. Yishan and Pinmei barely escape the chaos. After they escape, they set off in an epic journey to save the Storyteller. But, they learn the only way to do that is to get the Luminous Stone that lights the night. Along the way to retrieve the stone, they meet people and creatures from many of The Storyteller’s tales. Finally, at the end of the book they get the stone, and after a standoff with the emperor they save the Storyteller.
I have rarely read a book that creates a universe as richly detailed as this one. The author does a magnificent job of creating a setting that encompasses these stories. This book surpassed my expectations, and even though it is targeted for young readers, its creativity is intriguing for any age. This book was a 2016 finalist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and has been a “New York Times” bestseller.
If you like this book you might also want to check out Mrs. Lin’s other books such as “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon” and “Starry River of the Sky,”
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