Description from GoodReads:
"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."
Carolyn's thoughts on the book:
I had the privilege of attending the Southern California Independent Bookseller's Association Children's Literacy Day in February, and as part of that event, I attended a We Need Diverse Books panel that featured Stacey Lee as the moderator. Hearing her speak about her novel, I knew that I had to read her debut book, Under a Painted Sky. The book definitely did not disappoint - at times hilarious, it was also poignant and touching. I tend to be selective about what kinds of historical fiction I read, but this book had everything that I like the most about the genre: it showcases an often overlooked perspective and tackles social issues (specifically racial and gender issues of the time). Sammy and Andy are fantastic protagonists, each with their own compelling and sympathetic story. Equally entertaining are the three cowboys they befriend, and though their journey together is fraught with difficulties and hardships (and the concealment of Sammy and Andy's identities only further complicates things), the friendships – and romantic relationships – that develop are genuine and believable. The book is a captivating and brilliant read, and would make a perfect addition for anyone who enjoys historical fiction or books that tackle historical social issues.
Carolyn is a teen blogger who shares her favorite YA reads and favorite book related finds with readers on Fridays.