Written By: Lisa See

Narrated By: Janet Song

Date: May 2009

Duration: 13 hours 30 minutes


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A gifted writer . . . explores the bonds of sisterhood while powerfully evoking the often nightmarish American immigrant experience.”—USA Today

In 1937, Shanghai is the Paris of Asia, a city of great wealth and glamour, the home of millionaires and beggars, gangsters and gamblers, patriots and revolutionaries, artists and warlords. Thanks to the financial security and material comforts provided by their father’s prosperous rickshaw business, twenty-one-year-old Pearl Chin and her younger sister, May, are having the time of their lives. Though both sisters wave off authority and tradition, they couldn’t be more different: Pearl is a Dragon sign, strong and stubborn, while May is a true Sheep, adorable and placid. Both are beautiful, modern, and carefree . . . until the day their father tells them that he has gambled away their wealth and that in order to repay his debts he must sell the girls as wives to suitors who have traveled from California to find Chinese brides.

As Japanese bombs fall on their beloved city, Pearl and May set out on the journey of a lifetime, one that will take them through the Chinese countryside, in and out of the clutch of brutal soldiers, and across the Pacific to the shores of America. In Los Angeles they begin a fresh chapter, trying to find love with the strangers they have married, brushing against the seduction of Hollywood, and striving to embrace American life even as they fight against discrimination, brave Communist witch hunts, and find themselves hemmed in by Chinatown’s old ways and rules.

At its heart, Shanghai Girls is a story of sisters: Pearl and May are inseparable best friends who share hopes, dreams, and a deep connection, but like sisters everywhere they also harbor petty jealousies and rivalries. They love each other, but each knows exactly where to drive the knife to hurt the other the most. Along the way they face terrible sacrifices, make impossible choices, and confront a devastating, life-changing secret, but through it all the two heroines of this astounding new novel hold fast to who they are: Shanghai girls.

Praise for Shanghai Girls

“A buoyant and lustrous paean to the bonds of sisterhood.”—Booklist

“A rich work . . . as compulsively readable as it is an enlightening journey.”—Denver Post


  • Amy L

    Had to read this book for school and honestly- so worth it! It gives such an insight the the Chinese experience in America. It kept me awake, made my cry, make me gasp in surprise. Totally a worth while read and I cannot recommend it enough!

  • Whittyone13

    This is a great book! I don't give high marks lightly but this book keep me enthralled until the very end. The twists and turns of the plot keep things interesting as you follow these two young women through extremely difficult times. I highly recommend it.

  • Kellie Keehn

    Loved this book!! Enjoyed the character development and the relationship between the sisters.

  • Rosemary Peterson

    A page turner! The history and characters are captivating.

  • Fred

    This is the story of two sisters who survive unbelievable hardships leaving Shanghai at the beginning of the Japanese invasion. I was spellbound from beginning to end, and had the sequel, Dreams of Joy, right at hand to continue the story. The author's research is impressive. Although the characters are fictional, much of what happened and all of the historical background is authentic. A truly wonderful read!

Shanghai Girls: A Novel

by Lisa See

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Shanghai Girls: A Novel, Lisa See
Shanghai Girls: A Novel, Lisa See
This title is due for release on May 26, 2009.

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