Monday, June 29, 2015

Under a Painted SkyMissouri, 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.

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.

My absolute favorite thing about UNDER A PAINTED SKY is Annamae. Also known as "Andy," she is spunky and smart, devout but pragmatic. She braves the Oregon Trail due to a burning belief in freedom, and an urgent, unwavering love of her brothers. Despite the horrors she has witnessed and endured, she remains hopeful, even humorous at times. She won my heart on every page.

I love when the protagonist isn't the only awesome character in a story. I love when best friends, siblings, and other side characters shine with charm. It really enriches the reading experience -- and it makes me like the protagonist more too! After all, a person's friends say a lot about them. You are who you associate with.

Other "sidekicks" that I adored:

• Zuzana in the DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE series by Laini Taylor
• Sturmhond in SIEGE AND STORM by Leigh Bardugo
• Kurt in ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER by Stephanie Perkins
Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1) Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2) Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3)
Who are your favorite side characters?

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For more on UNDER A PAINTED SKY, be sure to check out all of our great features:

• Our group discussion at Teen Lit Rocks
• Q&A with Stacey Lee (+ giveaway!) at Gone Pecan
• "Count on Me: Strong Female Friendships in YA" at the Reading Date

Next month we'll be celebrating our book club's 1-year anniversary! Stay tuned for some special posts. We will also be announcing how you can join us and the YADBC each month. For starters, you may want to visit and follow our brand new Tumblr. ;)


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about us

Stephanie, Ingrid, Sarah & Kristan — we read, write, discuss and celebrate Young Adult lit.



on the shelf

The Bitter Kingdom
Wild Awake
The Raven Boys
Mind Games
Eleanor and Park
The Shattered Mountain
The Shadow Cats
Froi of the Exiles
Days of Blood & Starlight
Every Day
Jellicoe Road
Finnikin of the Rock
Guitar Notes
The Dead-Tossed Waves
The Crown of Embers
New House 5: How A Dorm Becomes A Home
The Fault in Our Stars

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