We’re hosting the book club discussion, and we hope that you’ll be prompted to put the book on your immediate TBR list; we promise you won’t regret it!
Many, many thanks to G.P. Putnam’s Sons/Penguin Teen for sending us all review copies of the book!
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.
This beautifully written debut is an exciting adventure and heart-wrenching survival tale. But above all else, it’s a story about perseverance and trust that will restore your faith in the power of friendship.
Below is an excerpt of the discussion we had about the book and its themes. We hope it encourages you to check out the book for yourself! Mild spoilers ahead.
Teen Lit Rocks: Let’s start. What did we like? I enjoyed the friendship between the girls and the way they challenged and took care of each other.
We Heart YA: Yes. That was by far my favorite aspect of this story. I really liked Annamae/Andy, in general.
Interested in the book? Make sure to enter our book giveaway and read our Author Q&A with Stacey Lee at Gone Pecan, The Reading Date’s feature “Strong Female Friendships in YA,” and We Heart YA’s feature “Let’s Hear It For the Sidekicks.” Stay tuned in July when we celebrate the YA Diversity Book Club’s one-year anniversary with giveaways and reflections.
This post fulfills our monthly participation in Reading Wishes & Rather Be Reading’s Dive Into Diversity Challenge.