From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Jade Moon, 16, was born in the year of the Fire Horse, a cursed year for girls. She is too bold, too brash, too stubborn, and is told she will bring nothing but sorrow and bad luck to her family. When a stranger named Sterling Promise shows up at her home in China carrying papers to America with her dead uncle's picture, a plan is hatched for Jade Moon, her father, and Sterling Promise to journey to a new country. The long voyage ends with Jade Moon being forced to spend desperate months on Angel Island waiting to be approved to enter California. However, when the headstrong girl realizes that her father and Sterling Promise are using her for their own ends, she sets out on her own. The action picks up when she cuts off her hair, disguises herself as a boy, and ends up working as hired muscle for one of the tongs in San Francisco's Chinatown. Her time working for them infuses the story with a classic 1920s gangster flavor, a refreshing twist on the Chinese immigration story. While some aspects force readers to suspend disbelief (e.g., the fact that Jade Moon is immediately installed in the house of the head of the tong and that she is able to hide her gender for so long), the action and Jade Moon's unbreakable spirit will win them over.-Jennifer Rothschild, Arlington County Public Libraries, VAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* Seventeen-year-old Jade Moon was born in 1906, the year of the Fire Horse, an ominous sign for Chinese girls. It signals willfulness, stubbornness, and impetuousness, all characteristics that embarrass her father and grandfather and cause derision and cruelty by her too-small village. So when Sterling Promise, a long-lost adopted cousin, appears and proposes she immigrate to America using false “paper son” papers, Jade Moon and her father agree to the plan. Jade Moon views this offer as escape and freedom; her father as the only opportunity to marry off his undesirable daughter. The interminable boat ride—and even more onerous imprisonment off California’s Angel Island—finally transitions to her treacherous entry into America. Jade Moon’s disguise as a young man and her homelessness pave the way for her involvement with the tong, a Chinese organized crime syndicate, and breathtaking danger at every turn. First-time author Honeyman has researched the history of Angel Island and early-twentieth-century San Francisco carefully, yet the ultimate strength of this story is in her character Jade Moon. Her voice, authentic and consistent, transcends this historical fiction/adventure/love story to embrace every young woman who has ever searched for the real person hidden under the veneer of society’s expectations. Grades 8-12. --Frances Bradburn