Something made me look from the amahs to the frangipani tree in the corner. And there she was-Ying. She was looking up at me. I shivered. Was my fever making me imagine things? I needed to tell Ma and Papa right away, but at this very moment, they were at Bukit Brown Cemetery, tending to Ying's funeral. Ten-year-old Bee Ling grows up sheltered and privileged in 1940s Singapore, jealous of her beautiful, perfect elder sister, Ying.
When the Japanese attack Singapore, Ying is killed in an air raid at school.
Shortly afterwards, Singapore is occupied by the Japanese and the family endure the wartime hardship and horrors that ensue.
Her sister returns as a spirit to guide, protect and reassure her that she will survive the war.
Bee Ling grows to appreciate what she has left and gains an understanding of the bonds of love that exist even in the face of devastating loss.
Written with unflinching clarity through the innocent eyes of a child, this coming-of-age novel is an intimate portrait of love, family, resilience, and the power of sisterhood.