Hey guys, guess what? I read a YA book and actually loved every page of it!
Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson had me riveted to the page, and I’m not just pulling a book reviewer phrase out of a hat here. I read the entire book in a day, stopping only for meals and chores, and when I did stop, I got antsy. I needed to know what happened next in the fictional world of Lee Westfall. I can read quickly when I’m reading a physical book, but I haven’t been this transfixed by a one in ages.
Summary (as told by yours truly): It’s 1849, and our protagonist is a tomboyish girl from the state of Georgia named Leah “Lee” Westfall. She’s an only child and her father’s ill, so she does most of the manly work on their farm, including hunting. So among her peers, she’s already considered a bit weird. What’s even weirder is that she has a secret ability to sense gold. This ability has brought wealth to her family, though they can’t really cash in on it without raising suspicion. Plus, there isn’t much of it anymore in her locale, but there’s talk of finding even more of it in California. Her best friend Jefferson wants to go west in search of it, and wants Lee to join him. As tempting as this sounds, Lee hesitates. Then one day, Lee comes home to find her mother and father murdered, and their hidden supply of gold stolen; at the funeral, she identifies the culprit by the teeny traces of gold dust, imperceptible to the naked eye, that remain on his/her person. He/she knows about Lee’s secret ability – as the culprit closes in on her, Lee prepares her escape. Disguised as a boy, she heads West on her own, hoping to reunite with Jeff along the way. The road is rough, and the company of travelers she joins faces a series of trials, from disease to theft to mysteries only a gold seer can solve.
I can’t get over how tastefully Ms. Carson dealt with so many different subjects and issues. There’s a lot of underlying social commentary which gets conveyed super-subtly in the way the characters behave and interact. In short, this book excels at being showy, not telly. Continue reading “Book Review: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson”