Under a Painted Sky
Published: March 17, 2015
I'm so excited to share a review of this book, which releases today! I got to know Stacey through the Pitch Wars blog contest last year, and was lucky enough to get passed an early copy of the book. I read this through in about two sittings. It's exactly the kind of book I like, and I'm glad it's finally out to the world!
The story involves Samantha, a Chinese American girl living in the Midwest in the 1840s. When a tragic accident leaves her homeless, parentless, and sought after by the law, she and runaway slave Annamae take off for the Oregon Trail, disguising themselves as boys.
There's all kinds of danger here--the rough trails, untrustworthy strangers, and authorities on the hunt for two girls they believe are criminals. The two meet a band of cowboys along the way (still disguised as boys), and the group pursues westward together, enduring snake bites, wild horses, and bandits.
I loved how accessible the history is within the story, and how every scene is couched in looming tension, threats, and adventure. Sam and Annamae's cultural backgrounds factor into every aspect of their journey given racial prejudices of the time. This is one of those books that for entire chapters I forgot everything else going on and just immersed myself in the story.
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