The Walled City
The Walled City

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Annotation: As Jin Ling tries to save her sister, Mei Yee, from the Brotherhood of the Red Dragon in Hak Nam Walled City, one boy, Dai, can reunite them and save their lives, but only if he's willing to risk his own.
Catalog Number: #120547
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition Date: 2015
Pages: 424 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-316-40506-X Perma-Bound: 0-605-94300-1
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-316-40506-5 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-94300-1
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2013044748
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Graudin's sophomore effort takes its inspiration from Hong Kong's Kowloon Walled City, a former fort turned lawless shantytown demolished in the 1990s. In this violent, bleak tale, three characters narrate their struggles to survive. Dai traffics drugs to make good on a past mistake, and offers Jin, a girl on the lam disguised as a boy, a chance to search for her older sister, Mei Yee. Unbeknownst to Jin, her sister is on the other side of the brothel window from Dai. The three race against the ticking clock e Walled City is on the verge of being demolished find the brothel's ledger and escape alive. Graudin uses multiple narrators to excellent effect, with cliff-hanger chapter endings that leave the reader little chance to catch his or her breath. She artfully balances tense action scenes with lyrical language, distinct voices for each narrator, and ruminations that probe the book's deeper themes of family, regret, and second chances. Though the story is solidly based in reality, it should nonetheless appeal to fans of dystopian fiction.
Horn Book
Hak Nam Walled City, based on a real place in Hong Kong, is described as "Hell on earth." The narrative rotates among three teen protagonists who desperately want to escape. Mysterious Dai teams up with Jin, who's passing as a boy and searching for her sister, Mei Yee, who was sold into prostitution. A riveting, suspenseful tale of violence, danger, and survival.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up&12; Dai has 18 days to find a way out of Hak Nam Walled City. Once a fort the space is now a lawless outland occupied by gangs, vagrants, and prostitutes. Each day is a fight for survival for most residents of the Walled City. Dai is from the City Beyond. Consigned to the Walled City for his actions he spends his time planning his escape. To do this, he must infiltrate the Brotherhood, the most feared and powerful gang in the Walled City, and steal from its leader, Longwai. He'll need the help of Hak Nam's fastest runner, Jin Ling, and Mei Yee, one of the whores in Longwai's brothel. Jin Ling sees her involvement as a way to search the brothel for her missing sister, sold into prostitution by their father two years ago. Mei Yee finally sees a ray of hope with Dai's promise of freedom. But each has their own dark secrets, which could jeopardize not only their chance of success but their very lives. This dark and gritty thriller doesn't pull any punches, taking readers into a world of fear, danger, and deprivation. Dai, Jin Ling, and Mei Yee each tell their part of the story in nonconsecutive chapters, slowly plaiting a single tale from their multiple narratives. Vivid descriptions add color and infuse the story with realism. While there are mature situations dealing with drugs, violence, and rape, they are skillfully relayed without being graphic. This complex, well-written novel is full of tension, twists, and turns, and teens will not be able to put it down.&12; Heather Miller Cover, Homewood Public Library, AL
Voice of Youth Advocates
This is a unique book. The setting, the Walled City, is based on an actual city called Kowloon Walled City that existed until 1994. The story is rather gritty. The Walled City graphically describes the horrors of human trafficking in a city without laws, controlled by gangs and criminals and ruled by brothel owners and drug lords. Throughout the novel, using short chapters that are connected by the same closing phrase, three points of view are expressed. Dai is trying to escape his life as a drug trafficker; Jin hides in the streets camouflaged as a boy to stay under the radar; and Mei Yee, who is Jin's sister, is trapped in a brothel. These three perspectives are connected in strange ways, adding tension to the plot.At times the writing seems incongruous with the events occurring in the story. In the midst of great strife, emotions are compared to pounds of overcooked noodles. To some readers, this might be a blip on the screen; others might find this purple prose seriously detrimental to the reading of the novel. This is a stand-alone, so readers will not have to wait to find out what happens to the characters. The shear grittiness of the setting and themes make this a book that not everyone will enjoy. Those intrepid readers who pick it up will most likely be very satisfied.Susan Allen.
Word Count: 88,979
Reading Level: 4.2
Interest Level: 9+
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.2 / points: 13.0 / quiz: 176256 / grade: Upper Grades
Lexile: HL590L

730. That's how many days I've been trapped. 18. That's how many days I have left to find a way out.

Jin, Mei Yee, and Dai all live in the Walled City, a lawless labyrinth run by crime lords and overrun by street gangs. Teens there traffic drugs or work in brothels--or, like Jin, hide under the radar. But when Dai offers Jin a chance to find her lost sister, Mei Yee, she begins a breathtaking race against the clock to escape the Walled City itself.

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