Saturday, December 19, 2015

Under a Painted Sky

Book 69 of my 2015 Reading Challenge
read on October 4

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

Summary (via the book jacket)
Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician - not an easy thing if you're a girl, and harder still if you're Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hope of fulfilling her dream and, instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier.
Life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted crew turns out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.
This beautifully written debut is an exciting adventure and a heart-wrenching tale of survival. But above all else, it's a story about perseverance and trust that will restore your faith in the power of friendship.

My Opinion
I gave it 5 stars because it was riveting and intense and I read it in a day (pretty much in one sitting, actually).  Even though it was fortuitous at times as far as help and opportunities go, it is for younger readers so I cut it some slack.  

This was a really strong debut.  I loved the author's phrasing.  For example, saying she couldn't look away from a man and "If eyes left footprints, this man's face would be worn as a welcome mat", or when she said someone "walks with the ease of someone with places to go but time to get there".  

A Few Quotes from the Book
"They say death aims only once and never misses, but I doubt Ty Yorkshire thought it would strike with a scrubbing brush."

"Father always said, If you cannot be brave, then imagine you are someone else who is. So I imagine myself as him, my optimistic father, whose step never wavered, whose face never hid in shadows. Lifting my chin, I march after Andy as if my cares were few and my outlook, golden."

"Maybe what matters is not so much the path as who walks beside you."

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