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Under a Painted Sky

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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.

374 pages, Hardcover

First published March 17, 2015

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About the author

Stacey Lee

9 books2,101 followers
Stacey Lee is the New York Times and Indie bestselling author of historical and contemporary young adult fiction, including THE DOWNSTAIRS GIRL, Reese's Book Club Late Summer 2021 YA pick, and her most recent, LUCK OF THE TITANIC which received five starred reviews. A native of southern California and fourth-generation Chinese American, she is a founder of the We Need Diverse Books movement and writes stories for all kids (even the ones who look like adults). Find her
@staceyleeauthor on Instagram and Twitter, and @staceylee.author on Facebook.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,863 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,990 reviews298k followers
April 14, 2015
I admit that there are some books I only read to satisfy my curiosity after I see all the hype. You know the kind - they win a bunch of awards, get a kirkus starred review, feature in Goodreads "best books of the month"... and yet, you read the description and you're just not that excited for it. But you're curious enough to pick it up anyway and not expect much. Well, I'm so glad I'm one of those curious readers.

Honestly, this book was really good. It's one of those rare stories that manages to blend sad, moving parts, with action-filled fast-paced parts and laugh-out-loud hilarious parts and get the balance just right. And it's a western! So far from the genres I usually find myself in, but oh so very good.

There are some books I sit down to read a little of and suddenly find myself blinking at the clock, which tells me it's three hours later. This is one of those books. So easily readable, so easy to get caught up in the emotion, the action and the wonderful relationship between the two main characters. The blurb promises a book for fans of Code Name Verity - something which I'm sure appeals to many readers out there - but I found CNV to be much slower than this. Under a Painted Sky was hard to put down; I was so completely invested in the characters and the plot.

The author is one of the founders of #WeNeedDiverseBooks so, not surprisingly, this book was refreshingly diverse. Samantha is a Chinese girl living in Missouri in 1849 (i.e. not an ideal situation); when she finds herself in extremely unfortunate circumstances, she must flee West with the help of Annamae - a runaway slave. Disguised as two cowboys called Sammy and Andy, the two set off on the Oregon Trail and make all kinds of friends and enemies along the way.

This was not what I would call a "book about race" - it's a coming-of-age tale about two young girls and their friendship - and yet, obviously, the issue of race is woven in throughout and handled in a way that was sensitive, informative, sometimes funny and sometimes very sad. Take this:

“When I came early, the doctor turned her away because he had never delivered a Chinese baby. By the time Father found us, Mother was dead.”

It's so disturbing to think how prejudiced and ignorant people were in these times.

And it should be said that only a very small number of authors have that talent for making you care about characters instantly, but Lee makes it seem easy. We see so very little of Samantha's father in this book and yet the author uses the smallest touching details to make him a character we warm to and miss.

But I haven't even started talking about the stars of this show properly. Samantha and Annamae are amazing. No exaggeration. They make Thelma and Louise look totally lame. Annamae is a charming and hilarious badass - so goddamn strong, intelligent and funny. The dialogue in the book is PERFECT; so many great scenes between the two of them (and later between them and the cowboys they meet). This is one early scene I liked:

“Quickly, use the book and help me knock in a hole.”
She clasps the Bible to her chest. “You want me to be struck down?”
“Oh, sorry. Here, hold the pointy part against the strap, like this.” I show her. Putting down the Bible, she takes the belt, and pokes the prong into the leather where I want it.
I take up the Good Book myself, then in one swift movement whack it down over the metal prong, driving it into the leather. I pray that nobody heard.
“Sweet Jesus!” Annamae cries out. Her mouth opens in horror.
“Thank you, Lord,” I whisper piously.

They crack me up so much. And this that Cay says to Samantha:

“Sorry, kid, I owe you one. You can kick me in the nuts if you want, or I can give you all my money.”
“I’d go with the nuts,” says West. “He only has four dollars.”

When I'm reading a book that I enjoy, I mostly refuse to let myself fully accept my opinion of it until the end, just in case it doesn't stay good or something starts to annoy me. But I somehow KNEW this book was going to be good from the very beginning. And it was. Very impressed.

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Profile Image for Danielle.
831 reviews450 followers
August 22, 2020
Perhaps it’s due to my childhood computer class time, spent entirely on the game Oregon Trail, that I seem to enjoy this genre. People uprooting their entire family for a ‘better life’ risking starvation, cholera, dehydration, typhoid, snake bites, bandits and Indians attacking. It’s an adventure, that’s for sure! 😁🤗 I loved that this story followed the two girls pretending to be boys. There were some laugh out loud moments, some oh snap moments, some heartbreak and definitely some friendships formed. I felt like there wasn’t quite as much closure as I would have liked there at the end, but, overall think this was a great read! ❤️📚
Profile Image for Heather Petty.
Author 5 books195 followers
March 5, 2015
I am the worst at reviews, so I'll try to keep it simple:

I do not like westerns.
I do not like horses or cowboys or dusty trails.
I am super picky about historical fiction and would NEVER choose one set in the "Wild West."

And I love this book, which is a historical fiction, full of the horses, cowboys, and dusty trails of the Wild West.

I loved pretty much everything about it, but my absolute favorite was the relationship between Annamae and Samantha. They come together through tragic accident, but watching their friendship shift and grow throughout the book is amazing. All of the relationships between the characters rang true, but any time the girls wandered off to talk to each other, I would instantly smile.

Add to that a well-paced adventure with the Gold Rush as its backdrop, full of rich historical and cultural details, and I literally could not put the book down.

Look for this at the beginning of 2015. I seriously can't wait to read it again when it releases!
Profile Image for Aditi.
920 reviews1,345 followers
April 1, 2015
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art.... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”

----C.S. Lewis

Stacey Lee, a Chinese-American author, has woven a heart-touching and thoroughly engrossing tale of friendship and shifting backdrop through the infamous Oregon Trail, in her debut book, Under a Painted Sky .


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.

Lee's debut historical fiction simply made me fall for the history of America, cowboys, the Oregon Trail, unbreakable friendships, first loves, means to survival, racial in-differences and the wild, wild west.

Just like every other 15-year old teenage girl, Samantha, a Chinese-American girl too has dreams of her own to achieve. She wants to be a professional
violinist and wants to open a music conservatory with her father. But an unfortunate tragedy leaves her penniless, orphaned and an unlucky murderer. To save herself from the prosecution and the consequences of that tragedy, she embarks upon a journey to reach New York with the African-American slave girl, Annamae, by cross-dressing and disguising themselves as boys. And on their expedition to the wild, wild west, they join forces with a group of three cowboys and together they faces issues like race, sexuality, trust and unity.

The strongest aspects in this book are female friendships and the Oregon Trail. The friendship, between Samantha and Annamae is depicted like something which blossoms and nurtures into a more mature and supportive relationship, despite their racial, culture and background differences, with their each leg of expedition ultimately turning into something indestructible like family. Moreover, their demeanor is a stark contrast with one another- one is highly cultured whereas the other one is sensible, which is what ultimately completes each other, and together they beat all the challenges in their path. Yes, there was some romance between Samantha and one of the cowboys on their journey, but the author never shifts her focus from Samantha and Annamae's friendship all throughout the tale.

Under the Painted Sky not only guides us in the back-breaking and unexplored journey of the first west-settlers through the Oregon Trail, but it also captures the Oregon Trail very lively. Yes, the author have done a great job in painting the unfathomed land of Oregon Trail from it's color and sharpness of the grass to the fear of criminal attack to falling sick with dysentery and cholera to the every hiss of the blowing wind to the call of the wild animals. And with her intricate detailing of every aspect in the Oregon Trail, we are easily transported to the place and time.

The writing is evocative, though the emotional depth felt bit hasty at times, and the essence of the wild west is so deep that we lose ourselves easily into the tale and never want to come out of it. The characters are strong and the author have marvelously disguised two girls into young lads not just by looks but also by their demeanor and have portrayed their difficulty on being boys strikingly. The prose is articulate thus giving a fast pace to this book. In one word, Lee has created a compelling and though-provoking tale that give us glimpse into the challenging era of the American history and how this land of opportunity is actually a country of various diverse immigrants from all over the world who traveled a long, difficult path to make their fortune as well as living.

Verdict: A very promising historical YA that will appeal not only to the historical fiction fans but also to the YA readers.

Courtesy: I received an ARC in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Rachel  (APCB Reviews).
331 reviews1,192 followers
October 26, 2015
Initial Thoughts: A book filled with beautiful writing, amazing characters, a lovely plot, an epic setting, and great themes. I loved this one so much.

Read the full review @ A Perfection Called Books

"I never heard anyone call the sky painted before, but it's the perfect word. Clouds outlined in gold streak across the firmament, casting uneven shadows over the landscape."

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.

We carry around the light of our loved ones who have passed. It is they who light the path for us

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.

Maybe what matters is not so much the path as who walks beside you

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.

Best stories are the ones everyone can see themselves in

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.
Profile Image for Nasty Lady MJ.
1,060 reviews16 followers
March 22, 2015
To see review log with gifs click here.

If you haven’t ever played Oregon Trail this review probably isn’t going to resonate as much as if you had. I’ll be referencing several things that happened in the game-such as catching dysentery, over hunting, and my favorite themed parties (oh yeah, you could either use the programmed in names like Charity, Obadiah, and Francis or come up with your own party-I was partial to using boy bands).

For this book our party leader is Samantha, better known as Sammy. Not Sam. Sammy much like the beloved Days of Our Life character. Save for the fact that this Sammy is extremely boring despite killing her attempted rapist in the first chapter (that is the best and only some what bad ass moment in this book). Because I am the reader of this book, I am keeping a log. Much how your computer would make a log for you when you played Oregon Trail.

Really, if you weren’t an 80/90s baby and missed out on this game, I feel for you. You should totally play it.

Okay, now to the actual review (log):

Hour One of Reading:

This is actually a fairly decent opener. The character was pretty bad ass if defending herself. And she’s a non-WASP. It’s actually interesting reading about a person of Chinese decent in the 19th century. And I see potential with the secondary protagonist (Andy) as well.

Fifteen Minutes Later:

Character development is sorely lacking. I have real issues with how Andy would so willingly help Sammy. They barely know each other. And I hate the use of dialect. I get that Lee is trying to show the character, but it seems so stereotypical and gives me that nasty feeling.

And when are they going to go on the trail? Don’t they need to buy supplies, oxen, those sort of things. I get they’re on the run. But shouldn’t they prepare more. That one time I forgot to buy food on the Oregon trail my whole party ended up dying before we reached the Kansas River.

Thirty Minutes Later:

I am tired of knowing everyone’s Chinese zodiac sign and what it means. If I wanted to know that I’d look at my Chinese Astrology book. Pss, and stop acting like rabbits are all promiscuous. And I really hate that this is how the character is shown as being diverse. All my friends who come from a Chinese background do not talk about being born in the year of the snake. For instead, one of my friends just talks about their obsession with Eddie Redmayne. I don’t think Eddie Redmayne has anything to with the Chinese zodiac. And besides, fi I was Sammy I’d be much more concerned with how they’re going to get across that river. They better not have the oxen ford the river. You always die when you do that in the game.

Ten Minutes Later:

These cowboys are not hot. And they’re bland. Also, someone spent a little bit too much time on translator.com and has given us a play by play on what basic Spanish means. Will someone just get dysentery already?

Five Minutes Later:

Seems like Andy is a bit of a Bible thumper. Dear lord…please for the love of God do not let there be slut slamming. Measles? Cholera? Bandits? Or can someone just go over kill with the buffalo shooting already?

Ten Minutes Later:

You know what, I’m going to rest for the night. It seems to cure cholera on the trail, so maybe it will cure reading boredom.

Day Two:

I am sad to say that I died during Sammy and Andy’s Oregon Trail experience. They made me DNF them because they were so boring, were stereotypes, and those cowboys of there’s were just plain stupid. I am going to play Oregon trail now and input their names in there and purposely kill them off much like I used to to the cast of Step by Step and Full House*.

Overall Rating: DNF and there’s nothing remotely redeemable here to give it an extra star. If my postage situation here wasn’t so awful, I’d be returning it.

*Note, if you play a game of Oregon Trail on my Gateway 2000, you’ll find Michelle Tanner’s grave next to Patrick Duffy’s character on Step by Step. Both of them got it around Fort Laramie. Or maybe the Snake River, I forget.
Profile Image for Fadwa (Word Wonders).
547 reviews3,524 followers
February 1, 2019
CW: Slavery, racismn death, graphic description of dead bodies, sickness (cholera), violence.

Original review posted on my blog : Word Wonders

Before reading this book, I hadn’t read a historical fiction in the LONGEST time and I really missed it so you can imagine how excited I was to finally pick it up. Plus, I had never read a book about the California Gold rush so that doubled my excitement. And this book truly exceeded all the expectations I had for it which were already high considering a friend whose opinion I trust had read and loved it. And now I love it too. No, I adore it, so so much. AH!

The writing is breathtakingly beautiful. It’s refined and gorgeous and I could feel how much loss and grief Samantha was feeling just from the way the emotions were weaved through the narration. The narrative feels very personal, as if I were reading someone’s journal especially since it’s filled with the MC’s beliefs and superstitions as well as the way she sees the others and feels about them. I just honestly couldn’t get enough of the writing, it had me hooked. The little bits that made me double up are some french translations that were wrong gender wise.

I don’t think I will stop talking about the writing if something doesn’t stop me, the descriptions are just mezmerizing, the way the Oregon trail is described made me feel as if I were there, it’s so vivid and detailed. The author also uses the opportunity given by the time period to unpack racist, sexist stereotypes as well as slavery. This was not only done through the girls’ experiences along their travels but also throughout active dialogue between the two, discussing the anti-blackness Andy (Annamae) is subject to and how each one of them experiences racism differently.

Under a Painted Sky wasn’t what I expected it to be, in the best way possible. It is one of the most heartbreaking but also hopeful stories I’ve ever read. That’s how I came out of reading it, filled with hope for the characters as well as genuinely happy, which wasn’t the case for the biggest chunk of the book. understandably. Samantha, the main characters, and Anna mae are fugitives so you can imagine how full of hardships and obstacles their journey must be but through it all, they had each other, from start to finish.

I truly didn’t realize how much I was loving the book until I had to put it down and go to sleep but found myself not wanting to. The only critique I can give about the book is that a bit of the ending was a bit rushed. As a whole, it was just like I wanted it to be and I was extremely satisfied but I would’ve liked certain events that led up to that point to be more elaborated. I’m not complaining much though, because as I said before the ending made me feel very happy and hopeful because in a way left open so I could imagine that these characters that I came to love and care for will be okay no matter what.

This book has one of the best friendships I’ve ever read, such a tight-knitted, precious relationship. In fact, it felt like more than a friendship, some sort of unbreakable bond that’s created only by having just the only person to count on and trusting them with your life. Sammy and Andy were like sisters by the end of the book and seeing that develop and unfold was beautiful and touching. The girls had each other’s backs no matter what and could understand each other beyond words.

The characters all have a single thing in common, which is loss. They’ve all lost something or someone that they haven’t really gotten over, and that thought was heartbreaking and made me forget that in fact, they are teenagers or barely adults (although, in that time period, people grew up faster and 16 then isn’t the same as 16 now). There was just so much hurt, life experience and wisdom in all of them than I couldn’t help but get attached to every single one of them.

I loved Samantha, she may come off as dull and boring at the start of the book but I think that was done on purpose, because with the development she goes through, she blooms and grows more and more confident. She’s actually very smart and resourceful. Annamae came across to me as an old soul, she’s so full of knowledge and like she had to age before her time came (understandably), she has a sort of quiet strengh and determination embed in her that made her my favorite.

Peety, West and Cay were unexpectedly amazing. When I first started reading, I thought they’d be just ephemeral, people they’d meet along the way and that’s it. But then, when I realized they were there to stay, I worried about them not having depth and being there just for the sake of the girls having companions not as wholesome people but I was wrong and I’m glad I was. The cowboys are amazing, each one of them crafted with depth and attention to make them as real as possible through Sammy’s eyes. I loved how they brought this sort of lightness to the story because they loved to tease and joke around. The banter between them and the girls flowed nicely and naturally and I found myself giggling quite a few times. By the end of the story, all five of them made up their own little family on the road.

I’d recommend this book to everyone, reading it was an amazing, emotional journey that you don’t want to miss out on, full of thoughtful and thought provoking discussions that will leave you thinking about it well after you finish it.
Profile Image for Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner).
387 reviews1,731 followers
April 3, 2015
I was so excited when I first heard about this book. OREGON TRAIL. UM THAT GAME WAS MY JAM BACK IN THE 90’s (plus I really loved the Dear America book set on it). That game, man. I always died from dysentery and what a bitch it was to shoot like 2000 pounds of bison and only be able to carry a 1000 back to the wagon. AND WHEN IT SPOILED?!? UHHHH. And anyone else name the people in your wagon after people you didn’t like so you were like WELP SORRY YOU DIED FROM CHOLERA AIN’T THAT A BITCH.

So I really liked Under the Painted Sky! Firstly, it was a great book about friendship between two girls who are on the run together and who are definitely outsiders in Missouri in 1849 — one is a Chinese immigrant and the other is a black slave. I love how their friendship starts as companions out of necessity to flee towards California but it grows along the way and they really feel like sisters. Also, I loved the friendship that forms with the group of boys they meet on the trail. Secondly, GENDER BENDING. So, it’s already going to be hard for them trekking on the Oregon trail as Chinese and African American BUT they are women and they are on the run. SO THEY PRETEND TO BE DUDES AND HAVE TO KEEP THAT UP AROUND THE GROUP OF GUYS THEY JOURNEY WITH (who she even maybe sorta feels romantical feelings about). I loved it.I mean, the logistics of having to pee but also not blow your cover??

I think the only thing that fell sort of short for me (it was a matter of expectations I think) is that I just imagined the sort of harsh conditions of the Oregon Trail that I always learned about (I literally almost also typed in “experienced as I played Oregon Trail hahha maybe that was just my bad gaming). I mean, they had some bumps in the road along the way for sure but it never FELT it in my bones that they were on this super dangerous or exhausting journey. Besides a part closer to the end where I felt the hardship in my bones. I’ve read books where I FELT the elevated danger but for some reason I didn’t have that tense feeling while reading. Still REALLY good and wonderful. Loved the setting and the plot — definitely haven’t seen it done before in YA! And I definitely fell in love with the characters. AND THAT COVER IS EVEN MORE GORGEOUS IN PERSON.
Profile Image for Christina.
262 reviews228 followers
September 2, 2016
3.5 stars.

Does killing a man who tired to rape me count as murder? For me, it probably does. The law in Missouri in this year of our Lord 1849 does not sympathize with a Chinaman's daughter.

This book is about a Chinese girl named Samantha, who lives with her father in Missouri, 1849. But after losing her father in a tragic accident, she ends up breaking the law to defend herself. Annamae, a slave who is at the scene of Sam's crime, helps her and they escape together. They both head towards the Oregon Trail, for their own reasons. Since life on the trail is less safe for women, especially women traveling alone, they disguise themselves as boys, Andy and Sammy, with a story that they're Argonauts, heading for the California gold.

Father always said, If you cannot be brave, then imagine you are someone else who is. So I imagine myself as him, my optimistic father, whose step never wavered, whose face never hid in shadows.

Soon enough, their paths cross with 3 traveling cowboys...Cay and West, who are cousins and Peety. They band together, forming an easy friendship, although Sam starts to want more from one of them. But with her disguised as a boy, it isn't possible.

The law is trying to catch up to them. Samantha is a wanted criminal, and there's a big price on her head. They have that to worry about, along with other setbacks that happen along the way.

The girls were definitely the stars of this story. They were loyal, compassionate and resourceful. They had a great friendship, despite not knowing each other for long. But what bumped down my rating is that the story just dragged a bit for me. The pacing was just a touch too slow for what I was in the mood for. I also would've loved to read more vivid descriptions about their surroundings. This is the third western I've read in recent months and to me, the world building in this one wasn't quite what I wanted it to be, but as I said, this story is more character driven. While this wasn't my favorite, it was still worth the read.

After a thousand miles of trail, it seems to me that good luck is always just a few steps ahead of bad, and maybe the amount one receives of either simply depends on the distance traveled.
Profile Image for Rashika (is tired).
976 reviews710 followers
May 3, 2015
Actual Rating 4.5
***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

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.
Profile Image for Shannon A.
674 reviews531 followers
March 8, 2016
Actual rating 4.5

What a great read! I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone! A YA western at its finest, featuring diverse female protagonists and an Oregon Trail adventure.

Samantha and Annamae are two girls on the run for different reasons. Samantha is a Chinese American who is searching for her destiny and possibility of a new life. Annamae is a African American girl who lives in the South and is enslaved -- she decides to runaway and forge a new path of freedom. These two girls falls into each other's path accidentally but end up finding out that maybe it was meant to be.

Great female friendships, a Mulan-feel while the girls pretend to be boys to travel safely, and a wild rag-tag bunch of misfits they meet along the way. The book is gritty and brutal at times, making it feel authentic and heart-pounding!

I was take it or leave it over the romance, which was a minor plot to the book, but I loved the kick-butt female friendships and the wild adventure the two girls went on.

I definitely recommend and will be picking up Stacey's upcoming book for sure!
Profile Image for Renée Ahdieh.
Author 24 books17.4k followers
May 6, 2014
This is a gorgeous, gorgeous book. I want to jump in a DeLorean and go back in time so I can be Sammy's best friend (and admire West from a safe distance).

Stacey Lee is a beautiful writer with a unique voice and a superb eye for detail. The way in which she develops the relationships in the novel is nuanced and perfect.

I can't wait to see what she pens next.

Profile Image for Katie.
522 reviews422 followers
August 27, 2017
First thing you need to know about this book: there are cowboys. Second thing you need to know: it's really well researched. And third thing: it's SO FUN.

I honestly don't think I've ever read a YA book like this one. There just aren't that many YA westerns out there. But this book embodies everything great about the genre and time period, with survivalist situations, outlaws, and dangerous animals. Also, did I mention the cowboys? Like, how often are there cowboys in YA? So cool!

Another great thing about this book is the cast of characters. I loved Samantha, our MC, and Annamae, the escaped slave; I also loved the three cowboys they start traveling with. Each had his or her own distinct personality, and they were all lovable. I especially loved Annamae. Like seriously, I want her to be my best friend.

Because the MC is of Chinese descent, Stacey was able to add another layer of culture into the story. I loved how Samantha would talk about the years people were born and how that affected their personalities; it was fascinating. And it was really cool that Stacey stuck with that theme throughout the novel.

Historical is one of my favorite genres, and I've read a lot of them. Western expansion is also my favorite time period in American history. I get frustrated with a lot of novels that I think rewrite the past, with characters that act and do things that they wouldn't have done back then, but Stacey's book never fell into that trap. She stays true to the time period and also the characters, and she almost makes me want to go back in time and travel with Samantha and her friends.

...you know, except for the outlaws, the rattlesnakes, the disease, and the uncomfortable travel arrangements. ;-)

Read this book if you're looking for your next page turner. Its pacing is fast, its characters endearing, and shot of racial diversity just plain awesome. One of my favorite YA historicals for sure!
Profile Image for Jen Brooks.
Author 1 book81 followers
January 31, 2015
How refreshing to read a book that is largely about . . . kindness. About friendship. About people who are hurting and lost in this world, yet looking out for each other. The main characters—Samantha, Annamae, Peety, Cay, and West—find themselves on the Oregon Trail together amongst homesteaders and gold-rushers. The tension in the story comes from the secrets they keep from each other (for desperate and believable reasons) and from the various (and many) obstacles they face on the trail. The historical detail—from the landscape, to the stops along the way, to the random people along the trail—is rendered gorgeously. This book has been touted as a good “diverse” choice, and it certainly is, but it is also a good choice for its beautiful, universal truths demonstrated by characters whose stories will resonate long after the last page is turned.
Profile Image for Book Riot Community.
953 reviews158k followers
March 9, 2015
When is the last time you read a feminist western in YA about friendship?

Lee’s debut novel is an utterly refreshing and exciting adventure story set during the Oregon Trail years. It begins when Samantha, a Chinese girl in St. Joseph, Missouri, experiences a tragic loss in her life and realizes that her dreams of moving back to New York City and pursing a career in music might never come to be.

It’s through chance she meets Annamae, a runaway slave, and together, the girls decide they’re going to head out West in order to meet up with people with whom they can begin their lives afresh. But because they stick out, the girls disguise themselves as boys, take on new names, and hook up with a rag tag group of cowboys also making their way along the Trail. The well-paced story is full of ups and downs, but what really pushes the narrative forward is the amazing relationship that grows between Sam and Andy. Sure, there’s a little romance between Sam and one of the cowboys, but through-and-through, this is about the intense and life-altering power of female friendship.

My favorite part of this book? Samantha kills a full-grown man when he tries to take advantage of her. Maybe I shouldn’t be so excited about murder, but it was a hell of a scene in the book and ultimately showcased just how badass Samantha is. Buy this book as soon as it comes out. It’s outstanding YA.

From Buy, Borrow, Bypass: Diverse Teen Girl Duos in YA http://bookriot.com/2015/03/09/buy-bo...
Profile Image for CW ✨.
669 reviews1,713 followers
March 11, 2017

I have just been on the most incredible adventure. And now I am not too sure of what to do with myself.

Under a Painted Sky combines elements I am not usually familiar with (nor fond of) - Westerns and historical fiction - with themes I love to read about - sisterhood, friendship, loss, and the unexpected things we find. The result? An unforgettable, and poignant story about the bravery and determination of two young girls as they journey across the Oregon Trail. Lee captures the dusty road of the Oregon Trail with unparalleled finesse and detail with a moving story about pursuing the precious few things left in the face of overwhelming loss.

Many others have highlighted this as the best thing about the book, and here I am to reinforce it: Sammy and Andy's friendship is absolutely stunning. Though it is birthed from tragedy and terrible circumstances, Sammy and Andy's friendship shines bright because it is one of strength and trust. With the unforgiving dangers along the Oregon Trail, both girls and their bond are tested. The beautiful thing about Under a Painted Sky is not that they overcome these challenges in itself, but that they overcome these challenges and grow closer together with each hardship. The development of both characters - as individuals and together - was flawless, and it was so rewarding to see how two girls, strangers at first, develop to become as close as sisters.

Relevant to the book's time period, Under a Painted Sky also explores themes such as racism, sexism, and slavery. The themes were difficult, but Lee unpacked each with a sensitive yet critical eye, challenges negative and harmful expressions, and also addressed how oppression is experienced in different ways. Anti-blackness and how this affects Andy - and how this contrasts with Sammy's experiences - is also addressed through frank and important dialogue between the two girls. Not only were these interactions important, but they were a testament to the girls' trust and respect for one another, and how the strength of their friendship.
There's a Chinese principle called yuanfen, which means your fate with someone else ... Two people with strong yuanfen have a greater chance of meeting in their lifetimes, and can become as close as family.

The characters themselves were delightful. I reveled in Sammy's narrative; I loved how her beliefs and superstitions from her Chinese roots interwove with the narrative, especially her observations and commentary on the other characters. Andy was a star in this story, possessing a peerless, quiet strength and a stubbornness that was formidable and endearing. The three cowboys, whom I feared would be forgettable 'filler' characters, were wonderful companions and, later, key members of Sammy and Andy's unexpected family. All characters were fleshed out with their own histories, their demons, and the burdens they carried along the Oregon Trail. The romance in this story was light, served with some angst, but it entwined with the overall story seamlessly.

However, underlying Under a Painted Sky is the idea of loss. All the characters in this story have lost something, and in a way, it is what ties them all together. Through Sammy's perspective, her losses - before and throughout her journey, again and again - are deeply emotional and heart-shattering. Under a Painted Sky unveils the hope we carry in objects, how memories and feelings are etched onto them, and why losing them can hurt so deeply. And yet, the story offers a juxtaposition: though loss is inevitable in life, finding new things is inevitable too. Perhaps the new things cannot replace the old things, but they can be light shining through the cracks.
Maybe what matters is not so much the path as who walks beside you.

The ending is a common point of critique; it was abrupt and the story wraps itself in a way that feels convenient, but I didn't mind it very much. Though the ending did not offer much resolution, the ending is hopeful. After all, focal to the narrative is the characters' growth, and the characters do grow - by the end of the story, I knew that they would be okay whatever comes their way.

Lee challenges that idea that historical fiction cannot be told by the invisible voices in history, proving with Under a Painted Sky that fantastic historical fiction do not have to center on white narratives. Under a Painted Sky may take you across the dangerous country, but it is a powerful emotional journey first and foremost. It is a wonderful story about bravery, perseverance, friendship and loss, told in the backdrop of a time of danger, great change, and also an enduring hope.

Rating: 4.5/5


This review can also be found on my book blog, Read, Think, Ponder!
Profile Image for I.W. Gregorio.
Author 7 books374 followers
July 19, 2014
Gorgeously written buddy book - Thelma & Louise in the Wild West. Such amazing historical detail, humor, and emotion. Brava!
Profile Image for starryeyedjen.
1,664 reviews1,231 followers
January 13, 2016
Very similar to Walk on Earth a Stranger, except I think I may have liked this one better. And that has a lot to do with the pacing. Or the fact that I listened to the audiobook, and the narrator made it seem more lively. Not sure which. Maybe both.

But I'm not going to compare the two books. I do want to point out the thing that made me want to read/listen to this book in the first place, and that is Lauren's reference to The Kiss of Destruction. I don't seek out love triangles or romance drama per se, but just seeing how she actually liked the portrayal of the betrayal in this book -- and we all know how much she hates her triangular romances -- made me want to see why. And I agree, it is a great depiction of how the Kiss of Destruction can be employed without ruining the entire romance.

But I loved this book for so much more than that. It was the camaraderie...the kinship the group found out on the open plains. This book just had so much heart, betrayal or not. The romance was so secondary to me that even if the love interest had been a cad about it, I could have overlooked it. The story itself was that good.
Profile Image for Yaprak.
Author 23 books122 followers
April 26, 2018
1849 yılının Amerika’sındayız. Irkçılığın had safhada olduğu yıllar, Amerika’da insanların zengin olma hayalleriyle kıtayı aşarak altın avına katıldığı yıllar. Baş kahramanımız Samantha yaşadıkları kasabadaki Çinli tek ailenin üyesi ve bir keman virtüözü; o yıllarda özellikle bir kadın ve bir Çinli için bunu çok zor olduğunu bilmesine rağmen hayatını müzikten kazanmak konusunda kararlı. 16 yaşına basmasına birkaç ay kala hayat onun için çok kötü sürprizler hazırlıyor ve bunun sonucunda yanında yeni tanıştığı köle bir kız olan Annamae’le kendilerini oğlan kılığında Oregon Yolu’nda buluyorlar. Kitap bize bu yolculuğu, dostluğu ve tarihi anlatıyor...
Kötü şans peşlerini bırakacak mı? Yol boyunca nelerle kaşılaşacaklar? Hedeflerine ulaşabilecekler mi?

Tüm çevirdiğim kitaplar çocuğum gibi olduğundan kendimi onları sevmek zorunda hissediyorum ama bu kitap konu olarak hiç benim tarzım değildi. Saçımı başımı yolduran şeylerin sayısı da düşünülünce kendisinin biraz üvey evlat konumunda kaldığını söylemeden geçemeyeceğim. Yine de ben Külkedisi’nin kötü kalpli üvey annesi olmadığımdan evlat evlattır diyorum ve onu da diğerlerinden ayırmıyorum.
Profile Image for Namera [The Literary Invertebrate].
1,215 reviews3,074 followers
May 11, 2019
I first read this book when it came out four years ago and I remembered enjoying it, so I randomly decided to do a reread. It isn’t perfect – especially in the realm of the romance – but it was good fun , hence the generous rating.

Fifteen-year-old Samantha Young (yes, she’s a lot younger than I’m used to in YA) lives in Missouri with her widowed father. They own a general store and they’re eking out a living, even if the attitudes of their neighbours leave a lot to be desired. Chinese people aren’t having the best time in 1849 America; Sam desperately wants to go back to New York and become a musician, but her father keeps telling her to wait it out.

Then disaster strikes. Her father dies in a fire, and rather than helping out, their landlord tries to force Sam to join his brothel as a prostitute. She kills him when he tries to rape her and flees with the help of a runaway slave girl named Annamae. Disguised as boys to throw pursuers off their scent, the pair soon fall into companionship with a group of three cowboys. White cousins West and Cayenne Pepper (seriously), together with a Hispanic man named Peety, take the pair of ‘boys’ under their wing. What follows is a pretty light-hearted tale of friendship and romance.

It was in fact surprisingly light-hearted. For the most part there’s no graphic violence – not even the scene where Sam accidentally kills her landlord – and I definitely got the impression that I was reading a ‘sanitised’ version of a Wild West story. Where were the blood, sweat, and tears? Don’t get me wrong, though: I appreciated the touches of humour, and stories of girls disguised as boys are always entertaining.

The best thing by far about this book is the friendship between Sam and Annamae. As a Chinese and black girl respectively, they obviously know what it’s like to be on the outskirts of society (though of course, it’s acknowledged that Annamae is the only one whose race actually makes her a slave). Their love and loyalty for each other shone through in every interaction.

The weakest thing about this book is the romance. We barely know anything about West; he’s just the dark-haired, brooding artist boy to Cay’s flirtatious blondness. I definitely thought we learned way more about Cay, and I preferred him in many ways. There’s also an irritating scene where West has sex with another girl because he’s conflicted about his feelings for someone Chinese. I definitely could have done without that, though I suppose it’s fair enough that an 1849 boy wouldn’t willingly fall for a non-white.

The ending was kind of a copout ; it felt very abrupt and didn’t tie up most of the loose ends in the novel. The book definitely should have been longer. Still, it was a good debut and I love the easy flow of Lee’s writing, so I can’t wait for her next novel this summer! I like that she focuses on the diverse aspects of history, and this book was one of the earliest ones to do so.

[Blog] - [Bookstagram]

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Profile Image for Drew.
450 reviews500 followers
August 5, 2016
Life just tastes sweeter after you’ve licked death.

Two young ladies, one a fifteen-year-old Chinese girl whose father died recently in a fire, and one an African girl who is running from the chains of slavery, team up and disguise themselves as boys on an epic journey through the wild west where they meet a dashing band of cowboys and encounter numerous dangers.

Probably my favorite thing about Under a Painted Sky was the group of slightly wacky main characters and their hilarious conversations with each other. The dialogue had me cracking up every few pages and there were so many funny scenes that it would be impossible for me to pick a single favorite one.

The western setting was wonderful. I loved how the cowboys West, Peety, and Cay (short for cayenne pepper) took it upon themselves to train Sammy and Andy to be "proper cowboys." Of course, this resulted in some truly hilarious incidents.

Sammy frequently made references to her Chinese ancestry and some of her father's ancient Chinese traditions, which mixed surprisingly well with the western aspect of the book. It created a unique and diverse atmosphere.

I also loved the inclusion of spirituality. The characters freely talked about God and Sammy referenced to Jesus and heaven all the time in her thoughts. This made me happy and not just because I'm a Christian myself, but because it was historically accurate for the time era (when most people were Christians). The subject of religion also played for some good laughs on more than one occasion, which was a great way to lighten up the mood.

It occurs to me that maybe God is in charge of the stars, after all. Maybe He has been saving Andy from the horrors of her life, little by little each day, and perhaps the trouble ahead isn’t so bad as the trouble she left behind.

This book contained some seriously awesome messages about the power of friendship and standing up for yourself. The latter point was strongly emphasized because of the main characters' ethnic backgrounds. It's a sad fact that Chinese and black people weren't exactly the most popular in America in the 1800's. However, Sammy and Andy's courageous spirits and positive attitudes during these unfair times were truly admirable.

Maybe what matters is not so much the path as who walks beside you.

Fantastic, exciting, and funny with just a touch of romance. Stacey Lee had a really great writing style that flowed from page to page. I'm looking forward to reading more from her in the future.
Profile Image for Harmonyofbooks.
500 reviews196 followers
February 13, 2018
Ne de olsa bir şelaleden aşağıya uçmuştum. Ve yukarıdaki manzara engin ve çok yakışıklıydı.
Kitap fuarındayken her zamanki gibi çalıştığım standın kitaplarının arka sayfalarını merak ederek itinayla okurken Renkli Göğün Altında'yı gözüme kestirmiştim ve tabii ki fuar sonunda aldım. Kitapta en çok ilgimi çeken nokta elbette konusunun 1849'da geçiyor oluşuydu. Sanırım daha önce 1800'lerde geçen herhangi bir kitap okumamıştım. Okusam kesin hatırlarım diye düşünüyorum çünkü bu filmde tam anlamıyla bir western filmi havası vardı. Her şey Çinli kızımız Samantha'nın babasının çalıştığı dükkanda yanarak ölmesiyle başlıyor. Bu olaydan sonra talihsiz bir şekilde elini kana bulamak zorunda kalan Samantha'yı ise bu çukurdan kölelik yapan Annamae kurtarıyor. İkili kaçmayı başardıktan sonra Samantha'nın tek varlığı kemanını da alarak beraber erkek kılığına girerek California'nın yolunu tutarlar. Bu sırada cinayet yüzünden aranılıyor olmaları da onları zorlu bir yolculuğa iter. Şans eseri bir grup erkekle karşılaştıktan sonra onların yanlarında yolculuğa devam etmeye hak kazanarak gruba katılırlar. Tabii ki gün geçtikçe kız olduklarını saklamak zorlaşırken diğer yandan da batıda onlar için yaşam gruptaki diğerleri kadar kolay değildir. Bir de bunun üstüne Samantha'nın kalbi grubun en ağır abisi West'e kayar. Her şey gitgide daha da karışırken sürekli ikilemde kalma durumuyla kitap da devam eder. Okuması hem eğlenceli hem de Samantha'nın babasının ölümünden sonra ağır bir hüzün girdabına girmesiyle beni ara ara beni oldukça üzen, neredeyse her duygunun yer yer alevlendiği harika bir kitaptı. Son sayfalarda aşk konusunda daha ağır adımların atılması ve gruptakiler arasındaki dostluk düğüm��nün çözülmeyecek kadar sıkılaşması kitabı çok daha güzel bir kıvama getirdi. Dostluğa, aşka ve sadakate övgüye yaraşır bir şekilde değinen çok güzel bir kitaptı. Son sayfalarını zaten gülümseyerek bitirdim. Beklentimin üstüne çıkan size de kesinlikle önereceğim farklı bir kitaptı. Hem geçtiği zaman dilimi sayesinde, hem o zamanın şartlarına ve batıdaki o doğayı anlatım biçiminin kalitesiyle övdüğüm diğer kısımları da katarsak okumanızı gönülden öneririm.
Profile Image for hal.
778 reviews106 followers
December 29, 2015
Assorted thoughts:
1. Wow, Sam is awesome! She's such a likable narrator.
2. Three cheers for diversity!! African-American, Latino, and Asian characters. Awesome!
3. The writing is beautiful. So is the cover
4. The romance is alright, I guess. The story would've been fine without it, but it's not unenjoyable with it.
5. I really like the emphasis on friendships. I appreciate that the friendship between Sam and Annamae is the main focus of the book, not the romance between Sam and West.
6. Overall a very enjoyable read

I'm probably not gonna write a full review for this. So if you want more details on my thoughts, feel free to leave a comment or send me a message!
December 10, 2022
Finished while on a plane and I must say it was overall, a good read. Nothing mind blowing but I was into the adventure. It’s 1849, Sam is a Chinese American (15 years old) who lives with her father in Missouri. When her father dies tragically in a fire, Sam becomes an orphan and kills a man for attempting to rape her. She and a runaway slave, Annamae become friends and end up fleeing together to California for the gold rush. They disguise themselves as boys to protect themselves from the dangers that lie ahead of them.

This is a western fiction with an adventure from Missouri to California. I was immediately attached to Sam and Annamae. They are likable and loyal to one another and they each have their own skill sets to help them maneuver throughout this journey. They become a family to the men they meet along the way and I enjoy the relationships that they build with them. Also the way they communicate and work together. I was emotionally invested in the characters and story that I needed to finish to see what happens. Really love Stacy’s writing and will be reading more of her novels.

3.5 ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Profile Image for nick (the infinite limits of love).
2,120 reviews1,362 followers
April 5, 2015

The book publishing industry is already winning at 2015 with all the diverse books that are being released. Stacey Lee's Under a Painted Sky not only shines because of the diversity that it explores, but it's also a stunningly written book that captivated me from the very start.

Under a Painted Sky was more than anything, a story about friendship and about two girls finding strength in each other. It was a beautiful and touching story, and I couldn't help but fall in love with these two characters. Sammy, our Chinese protagonist, was a memorable character in many different ways. Perhaps, however, what truly drew me to her character was that inner resilience. Sammy was a gorgeously written character and a lot of her beauty in Under a Painted Sky came from her unwillingness to back down no matter what the obstacle that she faced. By her side was, a slave girl with a huge heart, Annamae. The bond that developed between these two young women was so much more than just a simple friendship. It was a sisterhood, where they took care of each other, disregarding their differences and sticking together through thick and thin. This delightful slow growing friendship between Sammy and Annamae was the highlight of Under a Painted Sky for me, at times, even making me jealous because I envied their emotional connection.

The friendship between Sammy and Annamae wasn't the only friendship that developed throughout the book. Another wonderful friendship started brewing between Sammy, Annamae, and the three adorable cowboys that they encounter while the girls, pretending to be boys to escape the authorities, are on the Oregon Trail. The three cowboys, Cay, West and Peety, were a delightful. The dynamics between them was such a blast for me. Characterizations weren't the only elements of Under a Painted Sky that blew me away. Stacey Lee's writing and world building were equally amazing. With Under a Painted Sky, the author transported me to the times and her vivid writing was an emotional experience in itself. I was so invested in the book that I actually wound up being petrified for these characters because of all the dangers they encountered, both natural and from other people. The author did a fabulous job at describing the time period and making me experience it as if I was there myself.

Under the Painted Sky was one truly beautifully written book heavy on themes of diversity and friendship. This is one of 2015's strongest debuts and you all HAVE to experience Stacey Lee's lovely writing style and wonderful characters.
Profile Image for Erin Bowman.
Author 15 books1,936 followers
July 8, 2017
My official comments:
Deftly researched, Under a Painted Sky propels readers into the lawless west and life on the Oregon Trail. With a diverse cast, timeless themes, and an addictive plot, this is the YA western I’ve been waiting for.

My unofficial comments:
OMG a YA western YAYYYYYY!!!!!
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