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Nineteen-year-old Na has always lived in the shadow of her younger brother, Bao-bao, her parents' cherished son. Years ago, Na's parents left her in the countryside and went to work in the city, bringing Bao-bao along and committing everything to his education.
But when Bao-bao dies suddenly, Na realizes how little she knew him. Did he really kill himself because of a low score on China's all-important college entrance exam? Na learns that Bao-bao had many secrets and that his death may not be what it seems. Na's parents expect her to quit her vocational school and go to work, forcing Na to confront traditional expectations for and pressures on young women.
"[F]ilters detailed depictions of filial piety, funeral rites, grief, romantic relationships, and parental support through a modern teenager's perspective. . . . Will lead readers through a quiet revolution."—Kirkus Reviews
"Full of suspense and honesty, Like Spilled Water is an illuminating and heartrending examination of cultural norms, gender roles, and the complexity of family relationships in China today." —Amber Smith, New York Times bestselling author of The Way I Used to Be and The Last to Let Go
"Family obligations, personal desires, and secret lives collide in this tense yet graceful novel about a girl seeking the truth behind her brother's unexpected death."—Amelia Brunskill, author of The Window
"An immersive, riveting book...Liu weaves an inspiring story through compelling characters."—Jennifer Moffett, author of Those Who Prey