Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Page Length: 384 Pages
Publication Date: March 17th, 2015
Source: ARC (Thanks Stacey <33)
A powerful story of friendship and sacrifice, for fans of Code 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.
This beautiful cover that first caught my eye perfectly accompanies the beauty within. This book managed to surpass my insanely high expectations I already had for it. Under A Painted Sky was wholly unique and different from anything I've ever read, and I fell in love with each and every aspect.
I adore how Stacey weaved in her own culture and background into the story. The main character, Sammy, is Chinese and she entwines Chinese culture and beliefs, and it's all very fascinating. Sammy's take on life is so different from other protagonists, and she was so strong and tenacious throughout. I loved the diversity in this book, there's a wide range of characters of different ethnic backgrounds and they each bring a bit of their culture to the story. This book really has a bit of everything.
Stacey's writing is amazing. I was constantly impressed by her beautiful imagery, she has a gift for writing! I had so many quotes I wanted to share, but I restrained myself and shared just a few of my favorites. The pacing was perfect, the characterization was stellar. This book intrigued me from cover to cover. The themes were amazing, I never wanted this book to end.
The relationships in this book, both romantic and otherwise, were perfect. I loved the strong ties to family, identity, and friendship. The camaraderie and the banter, how they all looked out for one another, it was all so perfect and heartwarming. The romance was so cute, I loved watching them fall for each other.
I felt this book's setting and plot were captivating and fresh. It's about the Oregon Trail and the Wild West, how exciting! Stacey did an amazing job with the research of the setting, she captured the time period wonderfully. I was enthusiastically nodding along to the facts she laced into the story. Even if you don't normally read historical fiction, I urge you to give this book a chance. There's something in it for everyone.
The characters were fleshed out and had depth. We explore a bit into each character and their back stories. It was fascinating getting to learn more and more about each of them as they do themselves. Each character has such a distinct personality. They all have their flaws and their endearments. I love them all! Oh and did I mention there are hot cowboys??
The ending was absolute perfection, and I can't wait to read Stacey's next book! Although not everyone is big on historical fiction, I urge readers to read Under A Painted Sky. A book with friendship, hot cowboys, hilarious banter, rich culture, strong characters, swoony romance, a breathtaking setting, and beautiful writing, this one is a definite favorite.