Bound To Stay Bound

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 Last mapmaker
 Author: Soontornvat, Christina

 Publisher:  Candlewick Press (2022)

 Classification: Fiction
 Physical Description: 359 p., map, 20 cm

 BTSB No: 835674 ISBN: 9781536204957
 Ages: 8-12 Grades: 3-7

 Cartographers -- Fiction
 Apprentices -- Fiction
 Quests (Expeditions) -- Fiction
 Secrets -- Fiction

Price: $22.58

As assistant to Mangkon's most celebrated mapmaker, twelve-year-old Sai plays the part of a well-bred young lady with a glittering future. In reality, her father is a conman--and in a kingdom where the status of one's ancestors dictates their social position, the truth could ruin her. Sai seizes the chance to join an expedition to chart the southern seas, but she isn't the only one aboard with secrets.

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Accelerated Reader Information:
   Interest Level: MG
   Reading Level: 5.20
   Points: 11.0   Quiz: 515361

 Newbery Honor, 2023

   Kirkus Reviews (+) (02/01/22)
   School Library Journal (+) (05/01/22)
   Booklist (02/15/22)
 The Hornbook (00/03/22)

Full Text Reviews:

Booklist - 02/15/2022 Though 12-year-old Sai is playing the role of an upper-class girl fulfilling her year of service as an apprentice to Paiyoon, master mapmaker for the Mangkon Royal Navy, she has actually led a hardscrabble life. Wanting nothing more to do with her con man father’s schemes, she leaps at the chance to join Paiyoon on a voyage that might discover the legendary Sunderlands. Once she’s aboard, Sai avoids a crew member who might recognize her, while ingratiating herself with dashing Miss Rian. Meanwhile, she discovers a stowaway, a boy named Bo, and secretly helps him survive. When disaster strikes, their only option is to escape the ship and seek shelter on a small, desolate island. The novel touches on many themes, from class structure to the effects of colonialism to the bond between children and their parents. Action drives the narrative forward, creating a real page-turner with intriguing characters whose individual goals lead to inevitable, sometimes violent clashes. Blending Age of Sail historical fiction, adventure, and fantasy within a Thai-inspired setting, this original novel will leave readers hoping for sequels. - Copyright 2022 Booklist.

Booklist - 02/15/2022 - Copyright 2022 Booklist.

School Library Journal - 05/01/2022 Gr 3–6—Living a squalid life helping her conman father with his get-rich-quick schemes, Sodsai Mudawan uses her own cunning to secure an Assistantship with the Master Mapmaker of the Kingdom of Mangkon. Fortune favors her bravery even further when a declaration from the Queen provides an opportunity to join her master Paiyoon on a daring voyage to chart the shadowy Sunderlands, a region rich with secrets and sea monsters. The monetary prize attached to the expedition is just what Sai needs to free herself from her troubled past, but as her master wrestles with his culpability in the kingdom's expansion, Sai begins to have her own conflicted feelings over what she is willing to do (and sacrifice) to make her dream a reality. The spare, evocative prose immediately places readers in the hold of the story, and the Dickensian colorfulness of the characters and Sai's clipped delivery will have kids tearing through pages at an eager pace. Soontornvat brings a naturalness to her worldbuilding in this Thai-inspired landscape that will allow fans of magical realism and high adventure to find a tale worth cherishing. VERDICT A gripping story with multiple layers, including action, magic, and a thought-provoking through line of colonization and the role of manifest destiny, this original novel will leave middle grade readers wanting to journey through this land of dreams and dragons again and again.—Jose Cruz - Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

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