Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee
I love historical fiction! I have a hard time selling it to my students but this one will be an easy sell.
In 1849, Samantha lives in St. Joseph, Missouri, with her father. They keep to themselves running their local business but they see the way people look at them…because they are Chinese.
An unthinkable string of tragedies leaves Samantha on her own and on the run. Her only chance is to head west and start a new life.
Samantha teams up with a runaway slave, Annamae, and they realize their best chance of survival is to pretend to be boys and find their way on the wagon train. Sammy and Andy find themselves in the midst of quite the adventure as they stay out of eyesight from the law while figuring out who they can trust. Plus just being on a journey out west in 1849 is an adventure all on its own.
I was rooting for Sammy and Andy to make it out west without getting captured. There were many close calls and, at times, I found myself getting confused keeping everyone they met straight in my own head. With that being said, I stayed up past my bedtime to finish this one. It’s a keeper!