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 hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. Read more...
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More About Under a Painted Sky by Stacey LeeOverviewA powerful story of friendship and sacrifice, for fans ofCode Name Verity
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 hopes 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. But 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 troupe turn 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 heart-wrenching survival tale. But above all else, it s a story about perseverance and trust that will restore your faith in the power of friendship."
- ISBN-13: 9780399168031
- ISBN-10: 0399168036
- Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
- Publish Date: March 2015
- Page Count: 384
- Reading Level: Ages 12-UP
- Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.05 pounds
Related CategoriesPublishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-01-26
- Reviewer: Staff
Lee debuts with a vivid, nontraditional Western, set in 1849 on the Oregon Trail during the heart of the California Gold Rush. Filled with the expected difficulties and dangers of traveling the rugged, often hostile terrain, the novel features an unlikely protagonist—15-year-old Chinese-American Samantha, a passionate violinist—who offers a fresh perspective on the era and setting. Trapped in Missouri when her father dies in a fire, the orphaned Samantha accidentally commits a fatal crime and, accompanied by a teenage slave girl named Annamae, flees for California. Disguising themselves as boys looking to make their fortune, the fugitives soon team up with a trio of young cowboys; adventures ensue, with plenty of twists, as the girls struggle to keep their secrets from their new friends and the strangers they encounter. Growing romantic undertones with hints of uncertain sexuality add bonus interest to a story that distinguishes itself by integrating strands of Chinese lore and wisdom, Christianity, and music with themes of friendship, diversity, and survival. Ages 12–up. Agent: Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary Agency. (Mar.)BookPage Reviews
To the frontier
It’s 1849 in rural Missouri, and 15-year-old Samantha Young is the only daughter of a Chinese immigrant. Like many fortune-seeking pioneers during the Gold Rush, Samantha’s father has plans to move out West—until a tragedy leaves Samantha orphaned and penniless. To make matters worse, she is then attacked, and though quick thinking saves her life, she accidentally leaves the attacker dead.
Disguised as boys, Samantha and a slave girl named Annamae escape into the frontier, where they’re not the only outlaws hiding out on the open plains. Their chances for survival are slim until a trio of young cowboys—rare, endearing gentlemen in a lawless landscape—take the girls, renamed Sammy and Andy, under their tutelage and offer protection and friendship. As the group of five head west, the dangers mount, but so do the laughs and camaraderie.
Stacey Lee’s debut is a beautifully narrated story about first loves, unbreakable friendships and family found in unlikely strangers.
Kimberly Giarratano is the author of Grunge Gods and Graveyards, a young adult paranormal mystery.