Friday, September 9, 2016

Librarian Book Review: Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

After her father is killed in a fire and she kills a man who attempts to rape her, Chinese American Sammy escapes with the help of Annamae who is a runaway slave. Both girls know that the punishment if they are caught will be death. Together they head west along the Oregon Trail, hoping to find Annamae's brother and Sammy's father's business partner so they can start a new life. Along they way they fall in with a group of young cowboys, who help them survive the dangers of the trail.​

There aren't many young adult westerns written, so I was very excited to find this one. There have been two other young adult westerns written in the last year (Vengeance Road  by Erin Bowman and Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson), so I am hoping this is a new trend in young adult publishing. This book tells the story of a Chinese American girl who is on the run with a runaway slave after she kills a man who attempts to rape her. Sammy is a likable character and her history and background are well developed. She is a real person, but so often people judge her by the color of her skin. The story is fast paced from the very beginning when Sammy kills the man and doesn't stop moving until the very end.

This was one of those books where I finished and I wanted more--it was just so much fun to read. The story has action, adventure, danger, and romance--a great combination.​

Cautions for Sensitive Readers:
Sex: attempted rape
Drugs/Alcohol: some hard cider and other drinks are present in the novel
Language: mild
Violence: yes

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