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.
My Rating:4/5 Stars
Under A Painted Sky is the story of Samantha and Annamae a Chinese American girl and African American who through unexpected circumstances must escape together along the Oregon trail disguised as boys. This book was wonderful and a really enjoyable historical fiction novel.I honestly cannot think of another historical fiction YA which features PoC so it was really refreshing to read. There was a lot of interesting comments about race and gender, and while I am usually not the biggest fan of historical fiction where girls dress up as boys, I definitely think this was an interesting take on it.I did have a little trouble following what was going on times but that was probably because they were talking about horses and herding them and so that kind of confused me but other than that it was really quickly paced and just an overall fast read.One thing I would’ve liked to see more of is like more a historical feel? I don’t really know if that makes I would’ve liked the time period and setting to be utilized a little more rather than it just being the backdrop.
The characters in this story were amazing, I loved every single one of them and they were all just really precious. I really enjoyed Samantha and Annamae’s friendship and I liked how Samantha realized that though she was oppressed for her skin color, she still was more privileged My favorite part of the story were the boys they crossed paths with and began to travel with. They were all really great characters, and the friendship between the five of them was so great and very well crafted.
One of the things I’m not really sure if I liked was the romance. I feel that with any story like this, there’s always bound to be a romance, and honestly it kind of annoys me.This may have not been the book to do this but the way I see it is that these type of stories really confirms that ones sexuality is very fluid and is never set in stone. He thought she was a boy, and I feel like the justification behind this is that he just knew that she was actually a girl but to me I feel that who you love isn’t based upon one’s gender but based on who they are and I think that there’s a subconcious part of us that knows this. Idk it’s just something that I’ve thought about a lot but it may just be really stupid. I’d like to see a book discuss it though.