By Eric Teeters
The book Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee is a story about murder, friendship, and the power of redemption. It takes place in 1849 in St. Joe Missouri where a Chinese girl named Samantha loses her father and her store. She is offered a place to stay by a man who sold the store to her family. After a bad situation, she runs off with the help of an African American girl named Annamae who helps her escape. After getting out of town, they cut off their hair and take the roles of boys with the names of Sam and Andy. The story leads them to three boys who teach them how to be cowboys and be boys in general, and they lead them on an adventure to California. The story leads you on a amazing adventure where you stay on the edge of your seat as they progress through.
I read this story in a span of a week, so it is a decently quick read all depending on how fast you read books. I loved it, the story itself and the adventure brings me back to watching westerns with my great-grandfather. Unlike many other stories where the problems can translate to everyday life, this takes you back to a time where maybe not even money could save you. It makes you reflect on what happened back in the 1800s of America and how much of the racism in this book is still going on today but not as bad.
The author deserves recognition because the ability to capture the problems of the 1800s and still make this into a common western adventure story deserves a round of applause. She perfectly captures the image of what it was like for the other races in this time and how many people actually wanted to help but couldn’t because it was hard. Stacey Lee knows how to capture what it was like back then and makes you wanna make a change for today. So, if you wanna read a great story that brings you back in time to the wild west, then I highly recommend you get down to your local or school library and check out Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee.