PURCHASE:Amazon | Book Depository
Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety?
Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance. Includes a map and author’s note on historical research.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
Walk on Earth a Stranger may just be the best YA Western I’ve read so far. It’s all I ever asked for bundled into an exciting adventure that had flipping pages as fast as I could. Fair warning though, this book won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.
For as long as I can remember, reading books that feature journeys has been *my* thing. I mean lots of things are my thing, but I always find myself craving a good old adventure. Across a country, to the top of the mountains, WHEREVER. I love living vicariously through characters journeying to some place and reading about the hardships they have to overcome. But that is just me as a reader and not everyone wants to read an entire book reading about a character’s journey. Some people will want more.
I don’t have much to go on but I have noticed that all the YA Westerns I’ve read so far, parents seem to die and I am not sure how I feel about this trope. Wouldn’t it be nice if parents actually got to live and if there were other catalysts to inspire these journeys across the wild west? There were a bunch of other tropes but I kind of just moved on from them once we got to the actual journey bits. That’s when the book REALLY just grabbed my attention and I COULDN’T STOP.
Leah is a fantastic main character. I loved reading about her, I loved being inside of her head and I LOVED getting to be a part of her journey. When her parents are suddenly killed and it becomes obvious that her uncle, her new guardian was responsible, Leah decides to run. Leah is smart. A lot of female leads are smart, but I love that Leah is not someone who rushes things. When she decided to run away from her uncle, she actually decided to stay an extra couple days so she could plan and get things ready. She also knows how to take care of herself but realizes that when running away, groups are better than individuals.
This book also features a diverse set of characters which is awesome. We have the “confirmed bachelors”, we have Hamptom who is a slave and Leah’s best friend Jeff who is half Native American and thus has to deal with with a lot of prejudice and resist the urge to punch people (or was that just me?)
What I loved about this book is that it not only featured diverse characters, it also addressed a lot of important issues of the time. The book brought up the injustices being committed against various races by the Caucasians (trying to be PC here and not say white people) and it also showed us instances of where assholes did horrible things because of their assumed superiority.
The writing was also terrific although I did find myself sometimes slipping into the ‘cowboy slang’ from Vengeance Road. If you read my review for Vengeance Road, you’ll know that the cowboy slang had actually bothered me in the beginning, but here I was finishing off certain sentences the way they would have been if this book were written in the same style as Vengeance Road. Having said that, I thought the writing style was perfectly suited to the situation and really did make me feel like I was right in the middle of it all, journeying across the continent with Leah and company.
The book also has a slight fantasy aspect, given Leah’s gold-detecting powers but their origin wasn’t really explored and to be honest, it really didn’t bother me that it wasn’t. I didn’t need the answers to all the questions and I was okay letting her powers be (especially since there were so many other awesome things happening.)
There is also a subtle romance in the book. My shippy senses were already tingling as soon as I was introduced to the two characters so to finally see my ship sail towards the end of the book made me so happy! It’s a friends-to-more kind of romance and it just made sense given how well they (yes, I am purposefully avoiding naming who the love interest is) worked together and how supportive they were of each other.
As I mentioned earlier, this book is all about the journey. In fact, after the first 20 percent or so, the entire book IS the journey Leah makes from her town in Georgia to Sacramento, California. The journey was so well written and SO DETAILED. I was FANGIRLING and was up until 5:00 in the morning reading the book! I literally couldn’t take my eyes off the pages and all I wanted to know was what hardship they would have to face next and how they’d overcome it. I wanted to know how many people would make it to California (because people do die and it was heartbreaking.)
This book is perfect for readers who enjoy stories of survival and adventure. It is detailed, heartbreaking and at the same time manages to fill you with so much joy. I LOVE THIS BOOK and maybe you will too!
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