Today I want to spotlight an author I have followed since her first book, Stacey Lee.
All Samantha wanted was to move back to New York and pursue her music, which was difficult enough being a Chinese girl in Missouri, 1849. Then her fate takes a turn for the worse after a tragic accident leaves her with nothing and she breaks the law in self-defense. With help from Annamae, a runaway slave she met at the scene of her crime, the two flee town for the unknown frontier.
But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls. Disguised as Sammy and Andy, two boys heading for the California gold rush, each search for a link to their past and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. Until they merge paths with a band of cowboys turned allies, and Samantha can’t stop herself from falling for one. But the law is closing in on them and new setbacks come each day, and the girls will quickly learn there are not many places one can hide on the open trail.
Also, there’s exciting news that the TV rights for Under a Painted Sky have sold! Congrats Stacey!
Stacey’s writing is descriptive and her main characters are Chinese American heroines. It’s wonderful to see a diverse author write diverse characters. The next book I picked up was Outrun the Moon. A suspenseful historic Ya taking place during the historical San Francisco earthquake! I couldn’t put this book down. Check out my review here.
Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty of Chinatown, San Francisco in 1906, and an education at St. Clare’s School for Girls is her best hope. Although St. Clare’s is off-limits to all but the wealthiest white girls, Mercy gains admittance through a mix of cunning and a little bribery, only to discover that getting in was the easiest part. Not to be undone by a bunch of spoiled heiresses, Mercy stands strong—until disaster strikes.
On April 18, a historic earthquake rocks San Francisco, destroying Mercy’s home and school. Now she’s forced to wait with her classmates for their families in a temporary park encampment. Though fires might rage, and the city may be in shambles, Mercy can’t sit by while they wait for the army to bring help—she still has the “bossy” cheeks that mark her as someone who gets things done. But what can one teenage girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city?
What the characters Sam and Mercy both have in common is they don’t let prejudice hold them back. They are both strong and independent. Sam, from Under a Painted Sky, was trying to see her father’s dream of living out west in California come to be and didn’t let hate stop her. She cared for everyone, putting their needs first. From a Chinese girl, a slave girl, a Mexican vaquero…each character brought spirit throughout the adventure in Under a Painted Sky. Mercy, from Outrun the Moon, is never ashamed of her appearance but proud of it and her heritage. It was nice to see such a strong character that fought back the oppression against her. When the earthquake hits Mercy takes action to help those around her, even in her time of loss. Both books are highly recommended.
Stacey has a way with characters and words. Her words pull at your heartstrings and bring forth so many emotions. You fall in love with her heroines and instantly connect. She also does a wonderful job at bringing to life historical eras with passion and vivid detail. You can feel and sense what the heroines are going through. Every step of the way you are connected to that character and rooting for them to succeed.
I can’t wait for Stacey’s next book called The Downstairs Girl, which comes out in August. I’m sure it will just be as fantastic as her other books.
By day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady’s maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, “Dear Miss Sweetie.” When her column becomes wildly popular, she uses the power of the pen to address some of society’s ills, but she’s not prepared for the backlash that follows when her column challenges fixed ideas about race and gender. While her opponents clamor to uncover the secret identity of Miss Sweetie, a mysterious letter sets Jo off on a search for her own past and the parents who abandoned her as a baby. But when her efforts put her in the crosshairs of Atlanta’s most notorious criminal, Jo must decide whether she, a girl used to living in the shadows, is ready to step into the light. With prose that is witty, insightful, and at times heartbreaking, Stacey Lee masterfully crafts an extraordinary social drama set in the New South.
About the Author:
Stacey Lee is a fourth generation Chinese-American whose people came to California during the heydays of the cowboys. She believes she still has a bit of cowboy dust in her soul. A native of southern California, she graduated from UCLA then got her law degree at UC Davis King Hall.