PURCHASE:Amazon | Book Depository
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.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
Under a Painted Sky was one of my most anticipated novels of the year so diving into it, I was more than ready to love it. But did I love it? DID I? Nope. I lurved it. THIS IS A BRILLIANTLY WRITTEN, GORGEOUS NOVEL THAT I WANT TO SHOVE AT EVERYONE. And I am using caps to say this so you know I am serious! If you’re not sure about reading the book, just look at the pretty cover and give in to temptation. ITS CALLING OUT TO YOU ISN’T IT? You should give in.
You might be wondering why I am rambling so much, why I won’t actually get on with it and tell you why it was awesome but I don’t want to *whines*. I just want to sit here and stare at the cover and cry because the book was good. Why cannot that ever be enough? Huh? *throws hands in the air*
Are cowboys enough for you? Are diverse characters enough for you? Are awesome relationships enough for you? How about swoonworthy boys? Or a great adventure on the Oregon trail?
Can I say my work is done and leave now?
I will stay if I must, children but know that it pains me to. Or maybe it doesn’t. I just like being dramatic. *flips hair*
Under a Painted Sky is without a doubt a new favorite for me and it just made me ridiculously happy. I will say that it wasn’t entirely what I expected it to be but that didn’t turn out to be a bad thing. I may have been looking for a grander adventure but what I got, was in a way, better. I got to see wonderful relationships develop and I got to see these wonderful characters develop.
This book is told from the point of view of Samantha, the daughter of a Chinese immigrant who was brought over to The States at a young age by a French missionary. Samantha is used to be shunned by the people she is surrounded by. She is used to being gawked at like she is some sort of exotic animal. But she has always had her father so when he dies, she is left all on her own to deal with her feelings of loss and guilt and she is left to grow into herself and become a young woman that we all come to love.
Samantha is not badass but what she is, is strong. She may not know how to survive in the wild but she is smart and she can handle herself once she adjusts to things. It’s what I love about her. Her determination and strength make me want to cheer her on. She is such a smarty pantsy too and I love how it’s never obnoxious, just endearing when she says something no one else in her group understands.
We also have wonderful characters like Andy, Peety, West and Cay. You don’t actually know this but I took a 10 minute break to go re-read one of my favorite scenes from the book and I feel like I should apologize for this but I won’t. All of these characters add SO MUCH to the book. They are what also helps the book come to life. Without them, the book would never be the same. I would LOVE to go into more detail about them but I would be sitting here forever. Suffice to say they are all interesting and fabulous and smart and courageous and really just great people you would want watching your back.
There are two romances in the book (for both the girls) and while I preferred one love interest to another, both guys are just so SWOON WORTHY. They are different from each other in many ways but when it comes down to it, they are kind and sweet and really do care for the girls.
This all leads to the only thing in the book I would say I wasn’t a 100% on board with. It’s the actual journey they take. It was so much fun to read about and I did end up wanting more. I felt like the book focused more on the characters than it did on really building the setting and focusing on the hardships of the journey. That isn’t to say these things weren’t present at all, they definitely were and what we did get was FANTASTIC but I adore my survival/adventure books and wish that aspect of the book was a little bit more highlighted.
Otherwise, this is a great book that touches on many important themes of friendship, racism, grief and finding oneself.
I believe that this novel is a must read and I won’t hesitate to push it at you. READ IT.
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