Published by Greenwillow
Summary: Lalani lives in a village suffering under a drought. She takes a trip up the forbidden mountain near the village, and meets a strange man there who grants her wish for rain. Unfortunately, he causes the rain to fall without ceasing, and when flooding begins, the villagers blame Lalani. Meanwhile, her mother has fallen ill with mender’s disease, an illness that is nearly always fatal. Lalani decides to travel over the sea to the fabled land of Isa. Many men from her village have sailed away in search of this land, but have never returned. Her voyage turns out to be perilous, but she is kind to all the strange creatures she meets, and they help her get the help she’s seeking. Her friends at home take care of some difficult situations there, so that everyone is reunited for a happily-ever-after ending. 400 pages; grades 5-8.
Pros: I wouldn’t be surprised to see this win the Newbery medal or honor. It’s a beautifully written book with amazing world building that is based on Filipino folklore. There are many interesting characters (human and otherwise), settings, and legends that fans of folklore-inspired fantasy are sure to love.
Cons: While I can appreciate the mastery at work here, this genre is just not my cup of tea, so I really had to push through to the end. If you liked The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill or Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin, you will undoubtedly love this. If you didn’t, come sit next to me.