A Book Dedicated to Our Youth / Time Will Never Go Back (Stand by Me) 那些回不去的年少时光 by Tong Hua (OE)


Although the past is gone, our youth has yet to end! After the lonely days of elementary school, the chaos of junior high, Luo Qiqi has finally come to high school. Like everyone else who came before her, she has to face the tedious University Examination. Though Luo Qiqi is reluctant, she still has no choice. She wasn’t good at studying, but she also refuses to give up. Is it possible to hope for a happy ending?

Love is also a big challenge she has to face. She and him got together, seemingly already in love. But behind her, there is someone else. How should she confront this? How should she choose?

Adolescent friendship can bring both regret and heartbreak. Adolescent love can bring both sweetness and confusion. The complicated society at the turn of the century only makes things harder to sort out. Luo Qiqi and her classmates keep suffering in solitude like this. But, from all the chaos, they gradually begin to mature and able to see things more clearly.

This is the most perfect ending, as well as the bitterest farewell, the cruelest road to adulthood, and the most unforgettable memory.

Please believe that though the stealthily fleeting time might have aged our beauty, it also makes our lives fuller.

Please believe that our lives’ experiences will not only teach us how to put on a mask of indifference in order to protect ourselves, but will also let us learn how to be merciful and empathize with others.

Please believe that on this earth, there is something more eternal than time, and that is our love for others, and love itself.

Please believe that our youth is not precious because that was the time in which we were young, but rather because that was the time when our hearts were filled with courage and passion. A time where we didn’t worry about getting hurt, or investing too much, or being without love, or without dreams.

Please believe that it’s not the loss of youth that is terrible, but rather it’s the loss of that courage to truly live and love

[Ebook1] [Ebook2] [EngTranslation (Vol 1 to Vol 2 Chapter 10) (Vol 3 Chapter 4 on] [Thời niên thiếu không thể quay lại ấy][나사회불거적소년시광][Audiobook][Drama]


21 Responses

  1. Peanuts
    Peanuts February 20, 2013 at 4:11 am |

    A big thank you to Chenguang for translating the synopsis so beautifully to English. If anyone is interested, she is also translating Hua Xu Yin to English. This is Tong Hua least popular book but I read pretty good comments and reviews of it in Chinese. Thus, I might give this a try but the open ending kind of put me off. I think this book is sort of like Xin Yi Wu’s Our Eventually Lost Youth, abt the process & experience of growing up.

    A sort of MV for it: http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/H-TEgI5aRmw/?FR=LIAN

  2. chancy426
    chancy426 February 23, 2013 at 5:58 pm |

    Is this happy ending? I just want to know what I’m getting into.

  3. Eugene
    Eugene April 23, 2013 at 1:39 am |

    I love this book. It reflected the memories which I thought it has been forgotten. I seemed to live in those time again. However, I’m not satisfy with the ending. How I’ve always for Luo Qi Qi and Zhang Jun to meet again to clear up all the misunderstandings and feeling that they have been hiding for so long!

    New water is coming in and the old one is coming out
    It is impossible to hold on to it
    Time is like the flowing of water
    This is what it really means.

  4. Cloudandsea
    Cloudandsea April 25, 2013 at 12:38 am |

    chenguang: The ending can be said to be open, but I definitely hated TH the moment I finished the book

    I thought that the open ending vaguely implied that they cannot return back to the past so I took it as a sad ending. I hate tong hua for the ending too! She always have the ability to make me depress for a few days after reading her novel.

  5. Julz
    Julz January 11, 2015 at 11:48 pm |

    I am reading the English translation (can’t wait to read more). I do enjoy the read – very relatable and I am already preparing myself for a lot of bittersweet moments. But I really can’t stop from wondering how’s it going to end. Can anyone please give some spoiler?

  6. Moonblossom
    Moonblossom January 17, 2015 at 11:34 am |

    There r many characters in the story who cannot complete school. Only some, like Qiqi, r fortunate enough to continue to do well academically.

    Xiao Bo got expelled in his final year of middle school n he decided to join the gang. He forced Qiqi to break off all contact w him and they never see each other again.

    Zhang Jun nearly got arrested in his second year of middle school n the scare changed him for the better. He moved on to high school n dated Qiqi for 1 year in their second year in High School.

    Sadly, they broke up n Qiqi went on to study in Qinghua Uni, followed by overseas, while Zhang Jun went on to study landscape design in local C university. They too never saw each other again after they graduated from high school.

  7. Moonblossom
    Moonblossom January 17, 2015 at 11:38 am |

    Sorry, I tried to put the spoiler / hide text thingy but has gotten rusty n typed the command wrongly.

  8. Luna
    Luna January 17, 2015 at 2:43 pm |

    If am allowed to comment exaggrately, I feel like my head is spinning after I read your spoiler (Moonblossom: thank you though). I am on Xiao Bo’s ship. Even though I knew Qiqi was not going end up with Xiao Bo, but I did not expect he is gonna living that kind of live, being expelled, join the gang. I am so sad here, heartbroken.

  9. MoonBlossom
    MoonBlossom January 18, 2015 at 12:07 am |

    I like both guys – one is so dependable, and the other so sunny – but I think I’m also more a Xiao Bo fan by simple fact that he appears first. He is a key character in the first half of the book n by the time Zhang Jun gets his turn to shine, I’m already on XB’s ship. He gets 2 epilogues though, and his life gets a little brighter in the second one so I can be less broken heart over him.

  10. Luna
    Luna January 18, 2015 at 2:25 pm |

    Zhang Jun is good but I like Xiao Bo better.
    Brighter life for Xiao Bo?! I am glad to hear that. It eases my mind a bit. I am preparing my self for this might be painful journey. I like Tong Hua writing here (and her other ancient works), a lot of meaningful lines that relatable with real life.

  11. ITCHY
    ITCHY March 8, 2015 at 8:55 pm |

    I was shipping Xiao Bo and I was devastated by the ending after reading the spoiler (not that I minded, thank you MoonBlossom!)
    Can you tell me what happens to Xiao Bo in the 2 epilogues?
    My mind can’t stop thinking about what happened to him after he and Qiqi stopped contact!!

  12. Thiri
    Thiri January 7, 2016 at 11:00 pm |

    Omg.I don’t get it.In the end qiqi is still waiting Xiao Bo right?Even the sunset.She still waiting right?So Xiao Bo and qiqi will be together right?But Zhang Jun also there?But he’s hidden right?For me is ok he’s hidden or not b’coz i don’t like him.Just let him be a memory of qiqi.I want qiqi and xiao bo together.Please be together!!!!No more epilogues!Omg so frustrating .

  13. hikari
    hikari June 1, 2016 at 7:29 am |

    I love this book. I could relate to Qi Qi in a number of ways. All those awkwardness, those silly experiences, and those emotional struggles from growing up were everything each of us went through. Now, if only this wasn’t such an open-ended story. Although there’s hope that she ends up with Zhang Jun (who else is in his ship? XD), I still wish they’d had such a concrete encounter in the story. Zhang Jun you silly boy! How can you be so blinded by your inferiority complex and jealously?! On that regard, I really admire Xiao Bo. His epilogues showed his mature way of thinking.

  14. Ryu
    Ryu January 7, 2017 at 7:31 pm |

    [SPOILER] I really enjoyed the poetic depiction of Qi Qi and Zhang Jun’s complex relationship, from their primary to high school years. They went so many years not knowing each other’s devotion, and when they finally got together, their relationship was not strong enough to weather their insecurities. Like Qi Qi said, it wasn’t any of their fault, they were just too young to understand the way they loved each other. Two lone planets who collided into each other and created a lifelong impact. But I preferred Xiao Bo, who was the only main character who didn’t give Qi Qi any grief. He was the only one who gave her peace and kept her company through her most difficult years. He was “family”. But then he left and Zhang Jun filled in the gaping hole by being the most devoted boyfriend ever. There was a moment where Zhang Jun played Danny Chan’s song 偏偏喜欢你 for Qi Qi in the train and I felt like the song resonated their feelings for each other so well.

    Part of the lyrics, which I roughly translated: “Love is a burden, loving feels like punishment / My heart’s weary / Drunk on yesterday’s love, afraid of pursuing now / Yet I still stubbornly want to see you” and “Why do I still reminiscence about the past / Why do you not remember anything at all / Affection is all gone, even love too / Yet I still stubbornly like you.”

    I’m usually fine with open endings but I’m not satisfied with the ending here. But here’s my interpretation: how Zhang Jun and Xiao Bo find Qi Qi is the writer’s hint for what she truly intends for the characters. Qi Qi stumbles upon Xiao Bo’s shop is fate but she looks for Xiao Bo by choice. She writes that she won’t leave until she meets him. By contrast, she didn’t look for Zhang Jun. She must have moved on, considering she doesn’t think to look for him all these years. Zhang Jun only knew to be there because Guan He told him she’s in town. Even though I feel bad for Zhang Jun (especially after reading his epilogue), I felt like Qi Qi would be Xiao Bo’s karmic compensation. He had to give up on his education, he even had to give up on Qi Qi. Wouldn’t it fitting for Xiao Bo to have his happy ending with his soulmate? And wouldn’t it be nice for Qi Qi to find a partner who can give her a peaceful, secure love rather than a passionate but ultimately devastating love? I really think Qi Qi and Xiao Bo deserve each other.

  15. Moon Autumn
    Moon Autumn November 20, 2017 at 4:03 am |

    Although it’s on open ending, it still can imply whom Qi Qi chose. She was waiting for Xiao Bo at the river. She said that ” Not Meet, Not Leave”. She thought, ” He might come or not come; it’s his choice. However, she’ll wait for him; it’s her choice.” She even planed to wear the dress and have a dance with Xiao Bo like they did that year and although it’s late Xiao Bo decided to go to her, so tell me how can they not meet in the end?? Lol

  16. Seow Ashlyn
    Seow Ashlyn February 24, 2018 at 1:20 pm |

    I think that qi qi and xiao bo are just good friends while in fact she loves zhang Jun even though she was waiting for xiao bo. I was always sporting for qi qi and Zhang Jun.

  17. Jewel butterfly
    Jewel butterfly February 24, 2018 at 1:26 pm |

    Who else hates the open ending?

  18. Moonblossom
    Moonblossom March 12, 2018 at 4:25 am |

    I don’t like open endings but I can accept it here as I love both Zhang Jun and Xiao Bo.

    Logically, my brain tells me that Xiao Bo is family while Zhang Jun is the love-interest. But in my heart, I will ship Xiao Bo and Qiqi if I have to choose. I must be his backstory that is sadder than Zhang Jun’s, or it could be due to his tattoo : ) Xiao Bo parted ways with Qiqi after tattooing her drawing on his back and working his way through the toughest part of his life. Now that all the dust has settled, it is only fitting that his injured ‘wings’ finally bring him to her side.

  19. yingniang
    yingniang August 24, 2020 at 12:50 am |

    I really enjoyed this book although the open ending was a tad frustrating. The circumstances of the female lead, while well fleshed out, seem almost inconceivable but I guess sometimes the fictional universe will require some suspension of logic (although I have read that the plot was inspired by the amalgamation of experiences of Tong Hua’s peers).

    The English title can be loosely translated into “Our Youth We Can Never Return To” although it begets the question – do we want to? Would we/they have changed the choices they made?

    Spoiler Inside SelectShow

    All in all, a good book! I was burdened with the sorrow of each character for many days after.

    Two excerpts below

    Spoiler Inside SelectShow

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