#YADiversityBookClub: Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

About the book:



Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee, Hardcover, 384 pages, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, March 17.

Goodreads * Amazon * Barnes & Noble * IndieBound

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.

Count on Me: Strong Female Friendships in YA

One of the things we talked about in our book club discussion is how much we all enjoyed the strong female friendship in Under a Painted Sky. We talked about how the romance of the story wasn’t really necessary because the two girls were so kick-ass on their own. (Sidenote: How important is it to you that all YA books feature romance?) Samantha and Annamae had each other’s back and were a joy to watch.

Under a Painted Sky features such a strong female friendship and that made me interested in finding more books about great friendship duos. Here are some recent diverse books that feature friendship and/or strong female leads. Who are your favorite YA friendship duos?


The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey – BFF’s Ivy and Echo support each other through all their fantastical adventures.

When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez – Two girls named Emily (one goes by middle name Elizabeth) work on an Emily Dickinson project and both are grappling with depression.

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour – From my review: “Emi & Charlotte’s friendship is wonderful. They are their biggest cheerleaders and also call each other out when they need to.”

P,S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han – This book celebrates the sisterly bonds of friendship in a really lovely way.

Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout – One of the biggest strengths of this book is the friendship that develops between boarding school roommates Grace and Sophie.



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3 thoughts on “#YADiversityBookClub: Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

  1. I would have hesitated to pick up Under a Painted Sky because of the time period but your enthusiasm for the book has me wanting to read it.

    bermudaonion (Kathy) recently posted: Mailbox Monday
  2. Rabiah says:

    I can’t wait to read this one! It sounds so good and I like that the friendship aspect is strong in this one. I didn’t like HELLO, I LOVE YOU though…just thought it was a little too much back-and-forth romance that overshadowed the friendship aspect. Loved hearing your thoughts on UNDER A PAINTED SKY! Need to pick this one up soon 😀

  3. Daniela Ark says:

    You had me at YA, Diversity, Strong Female and Friendships 🙂 Adding it to my list. Thanks for the review 🙂

    Daniela Ark recently posted: Book Blitz: Waterfall by, Amber Garr

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