San Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty in Chinatown, 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, an historic earthquake rocks San Francisco, destroying Mercy’s home and school. With martial law in effect, she is forced to wait with her classmates for their families in a temporary park encampment. Mercy can’t sit by while they wait for the Army to bring help. Fires might rage, and the city may be in shambles, yet Mercy still has the ‘bossy’ cheeks that mark her as someone who gets things done. But what can one teenaged girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city?
Thank you to G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review.
I don’t usually reach for historical fiction, but after I heard so many wonderful things about Stacey Lee’s previous work, UNDER A PAINTED SKY, I knew I wanted to read her new book and see what all the fuss was about. Fortunately, I really enjoyed this historical fiction novel, filled with survival, lovely prose, and a strong female main character.
OUTRUN THE MOON follows Mercy Wong, a Chinese-American living in the early 1900s, who pretends to be an heiress from China to attend a prestigious all-girls school, St. Clare’s. Soon after, the Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake hits, and Mercy has to learn to deal with her grief and pick up the pieces of her life.
One of my favorite things of this book was the diversity. I definitely appreciate that this book was written by Chinese-American person, because I could relate to Mercy so well. This book was so cultural-rich, and I really love connecting with Mercy and her family; they used vernacular that is common to what my grandparents say, so I really could understand. I also loved Mercy’s voice. She was such a strong character. She had flaws, yes, but the way that she was able to find a way to continue living even though half her family didn’t was so brave in my eyes.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book! OUTRUN THE MOON combines friendship with grief and love, and Stacey Lee does a marvelous job crafting this historical novel together. If you enjoy bittersweet novels with a fun and diverse main character, I recommend you pick this book up!