Winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature San Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty of Chinatown, and an education at St. Read more...
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Winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature San Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty of Chinatown, and an education at St. Clare's School for Girls is her best hope. Although St. Clare's is off-limits to all but the wealthiest white girls, Mercy gains admittance through a mix of cunning and a little bribery, only to discover that getting in was the easiest part. Not to be undone by a bunch of spoiled heiresses, Mercy stands strong--until disaster strikes. On April 18, a historic earthquake rocks San Francisco, destroying Mercy's home and school. Now she's forced to wait with her classmates for their families in a temporary park encampment. Though fires might rage, and the city may be in shambles, Mercy can't sit by while they wait for the army to bring help--she still has the "bossy" cheeks that mark her as someone who gets things done. But what can one teenage girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city? Stacey Lee masterfully crafts another remarkable novel set against a unique historical backdrop. Strong-willed Mercy Wong leads a cast of diverse characters in this extraordinary tale of survival.
- ISBN-13: 9780399175411
- ISBN-10: 0399175415
- Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
- Publish Date: May 2016
- Page Count: 400
- Reading Level: Ages 12-UP
- Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 1.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-03-07
- Reviewer: Staff
Lee (Under a Painted Sky) creates another strong Chinese-American protagonist, 15-year-old Mercy Wong, in a novel set in 1906 San Francisco, where extreme discrimination against the city’s Chinese population flourishes. Mercy’s father runs a laundry, her mother is a fortune-teller, and six-year-old brother Jack is her treasure, but Mercy dreams of becoming a successful businesswoman. Characterized by her “bossy cheeks,” she bribes her way into an elite girls’ boarding school, where she poses as a wealthy heiress. Just as she is found out, the historic earthquake hits. In its aftermath, the story becomes a somewhat predictable survival tale as the schoolgirls overcome differences to work together to feed the homeless population camped out in Golden Gate Park. Suspense over the fate of Mercy’s father and romantic interest helps hold readers’ attention, but the girls’ adventures and achievements in building a community out of the diverse park residents are not as compelling as the interplay between Mercy’s life in Chinatown and at St. Clare’s School for Girls, which makes for an original exploration of a time and place not often depicted in historical fiction. Ages 12–up. Agent: Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary Agency. (May)