Review: Morning Sun in Wuhan by Ying Chang Compestine

Morning Sun in Wuhan by Ying Chang Compestine

Morning Sun in Wuhan
Ying Chang Compestine
Clarion Books
Published November 8, 2022

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Morning Sun in Wuhan

What was the pandemic of the century like at the start? This swift, gripping novel captures not only the uncertainty and panic when COVID first emerged in Wuhan, but also how a community banded together.

Weaving in the tastes and sounds of the historic city, Wuhan’s comforting and distinctive cuisine comes to life as the reader follows 13-year-old Mei who, through her love for cooking, makes a difference in her community. Written by an award-winning author originally from Wuhan.

Grieving the death of her mother and an outcast at school, thirteen-year-old Mei finds solace in cooking and computer games. When her friend’s grandmother falls ill, Mei seeks out her father, a doctor, for help, and discovers the hospital is overcrowded. As the virus spreads, Mei finds herself alone in a locked-down city trying to find a way to help.

Author Ying Chang Compestine draws on her own experiences growing up in Wuhan to illustrate that the darkest times can bring out the best in people, friendship can give one courage in frightening times, and most importantly, young people can make an impact on the world. Readers can follow Mei’s tantalizing recipes and cook them at home.

Morning Sun in Wuhan on Goodreads

My Review

Not going to lie– I love that this book included recipes! I want to try all of them. The game Mei plays, Chop Chop also sounds like a lot of fun. I’ve played a game called Plate Up before which sounds way less sophisticated than how Chop Chop is described to be. Still, I had to laugh when different things happen with Mei and her team members in the game, because it reminded me of things that happened during my own kitchen/cooking game play experience. Haha!

I also really loved the community aspect of the story. I remember reading about the city of Wuhan being shut down during the pandemic, but I didn’t really have a grid for what that was actually like. We get to see the growing fear and uncertainty through Mei’s eyes, but we also get to see the way that she joins other community members to help those in need by delivering food and caring for her neighbors.

MORNING SUN IN WUHAN isn’t a super long book. I think it took me less than two hours to read altogether. The pacing is pretty smooth, and I loved Mei and her friends. It was easy to invest in their stories and hurt along with them and cheer for their victories.

All in all, I think this is a great book for kids who are curious about what the pandemic has been like in other places or are looking for a story about a young chef or gamer. I think readers who enjoyed HONESTLY, ELLIOT by Gillian McDunn will love this one.

Morning Sun in Wuhan on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.

Characters are Chinese. Mei’s mother has recently passed away.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content

Spiritual Content

Violent Content
Mei witnesses people getting angry as they shop in the last few minutes before the city shuts down.

Drug Content

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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