Under the Cherry Blossom by Maya Healy
“One day, I promised myself, I will show them that a girl can be just as a good as a boy.” (p.17)
|Under the Cherry Blossom - Maya Healy|
I love cherry blossom, sticky rice and Japanese design. So I was pleased to see a book aimed at younger readers that was set in Japan way back in 1216.
But the saying, do not judge a book by its cover definitely applies to this book. This swings two ways for the book. For those readers who are looking for an historical drama, you may be disappointed. But for those readers who prefer a bit of page-turning action, you’ll be in for a treat. And for those who are put off by pink covers, look twice because you may be missing out on something.
Under the Cherry Blossom is an adventure story about two Japanese sisters, Kimi and Hana. They are the daughters of a Japanese jito (a man who manages local land, has a lot of power and lives in luxury). Kimi wants to be a samurai but as a girl she is not allowed to become one. Then, a murderous event sends the sisters running for their lives and searching for the rest of their family. Kimi and Hana’s survival depends on how well they can prove that boys aren’t better than girls.
This book is an adventure story that is full of betrayals, suspense, sword-fighting and hand-to-hand combat. If you don’t like blood, hmmm, you have been warned! But among all the fighting is a story about friendship and loyalty, and an introduction to some aspects of the Japanese way of life: the food, their customs, and the importance about balance in your life.
This book is part of a series where each book leads to the next. Because of this, not all the questions in the story are answered. The next book, Shadows Across the Sun, is already available to buy now.
This book would probably appeal most to younger readers – maybe 9-11. For readers who love anything with swords in it, this could be for you. And for readers who like to see girls standing up for themselves, Kimi and Hana are worthy characters for you. Boys should not dismiss this book.
2012, Oxford University Press, Oxford
This copy: review copy provided by OUP