Thursday, September 24, 2015

An ABC Review of UNDER A PAINTED SKY by Stacey Lee

I seriously can't say enough great things about UNDER A PAINTED SKY by Stacey Lee. I read it several months ago and I'm still thinking about it. The characters, setting, and pacing are great. There's a little bit of everything—humor, tension, action—to entertain a variety of readers. 

I've never been much of a Western fan, besides watching DR. QUINN, MEDICINE WOMAN with my mom as a kid, but my friend (and Pitch Wars mentor) Stephanie Garber told me she thought I'd enjoy it. And I'm so glad Stephanie recommended it! She was totally right. 

If you like Historical Fiction, badass female MCs, tension and humor, swoon-worthy cowboys, and friendship, you'll love UNDER A PAINTED SKY. And if you're not typically a Western or Historical Fiction fan, I urge you to give it a try anyway. I really think you'll enjoy it.

Book Blurb:

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.

Nails and bookmark courtesy of Stephanie Garber!

You can find UNDER A PAINTED SKY at B&N, AMAZON, and the Book Depository.



For me, the pacing was perfect. Even in "slower" scenes there was tension to keep me reading. And Stacey had a magical way of weaving humor into some of the tenser scenes, keeping me laughing AND on the edge of my seat at the same time.


UNDER A PAINTED SKY takes place along the Oregon Trail and Stacey masterfully recreated the setting, making the reader feel like they're actually there with the characters. I really felt like Stacey did tons of research on the time period and showed the struggles Sammy and Andy would've had to face while traveling through the west in disguise. Stacey also weaved in information about the Chinese Zodiac, which I found really interesting.


I loved the characters sooo much! They're great. One of the best things in UNDER A PAINTED SKY is the friendship that develops between Sammy/Samantha, the main character, and Andy/Annamae. Andy and Sammy are really smart and resourceful, and I loved that about them. Along their journey, they meet a group of cowboys: Peety, Cay, and West. If you like cowboys, you'll LOVE this trio. They made me laugh a lot!

For me, it's hard to pick a favorite character because they're all fleshed out and real and I LOVE them all. But my favorite of the cowboys is probably West! ;)

...SO I really think you should treat yourself and read UNDER A PAINTED SKY!!! ;)

If you've read UNDER A PAINTED SKY, what did you love about it? Your favorite character?

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