Monday, May 16, 2016

Wherein the Moon is Your Destiny

Monday, May 16, 2016 with 3 comments
Title: Outrun the Moon
Author: Stacey Lee
Series: stand-alone
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons BFYR
Publication Date: May 24, 2016
Source: ARC received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Add to Goodreads
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?

I'll admit, I didn't love this as much as Under a Painted Sky, but it was still a lovely, poignant story. And I unintentionally started reading it on April 18th, the day of the historic earthquake that the story is focused on, which was, well...kind of eerie. (I remember reading about it in school, but the date had little significance to me at that point because it didn't relate to me or anyone I knew.) And I didn't realize what I'd done until I was almost to the halfway mark and the story really got, er, shaking. :P

It took a minute to make a real connection with these characters, but I'll admit it...there were moments when I cried for/with them. I won't soon forget Mercy and her hard-won friends. Or the issues they faced in that time period - and the extent to which they face them: classism, sexism, name a few. I loved seeing how a tragedy like this could bring the girls of St. Clare's together -- albeit reluctantly, at least at first -- and make them forget all the ways they were different and instead focus on being true St. Clare's girls and "comport themselves with unselfish regard for the welfare of others."

As with Under a Painted Sky, I really appreciated Lee's blend of fiction, Chinese culture, and American history. It's obvious that she researched the material, as well as had some personal association with the matter, but I also loved how she explained in her author's note what changes she made for the sake of the story and how things would have really been for Mercy and friends.

Stacey Lee's words just paint such a vivid picture. Of Chinatown. Of the devastation wrought by the earthquake. And of the grief and loss suffered in the aftermath. Her depiction of this historic tragedy is fraught with high emotions and tempers but also with the kindness and compassion that such an event seems to bring about in mankind.

The first half of this story may have been more boarding school shenanigans than anything else, but the second half of the novel really makes up for any initial slowness in the beginning. I'm impressed with the overall friendships and sense of community this book gave me, and I'm glad that it expanded my knowledge of an event that I knew little about beforehand. And in doing so, it garnered a really emotional response from me. So far, I'm very impressed with Stacey's work, and I can't wait to read her next story.

GIF it to me straight:
Like the moon, you can try to hide from it. You can even see if from a different perspective.
But you cannot outrun your destiny.

About the author:

Stacey Lee is a fourth generation Chinese-American whose people came to California during the heydays of the cowboys. She believes she still has a bit of cowboy dust in her soul. A native of southern California, she graduated from UCLA then got her law degree at UC Davis King Hall. After practicing law in the Silicon Valley for several years, she finally took up the pen because she wanted the perks of being able to nap during the day, and it was easier than moving to Spain. She plays classical piano, raises children, and writes YA fiction.

Find Stacey:

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Tumblr


  1. I don't think I've ever heard of this series before. Which is surprising because I tend to be drawn to Oriental culture. I need to check these books out.

    1. Well, it's not actually a series. Both are stand-alones but in the same vein...Chinese girl trying to survive in historic America. Her first book was set during the Gold Rush era and this one is during the Great San Francisco Earthquake. I enjoyed both very much, though. :)

  2. I managed to really like this novel. I think it spoke to me emotionally because of Mercy's character. She fought so hard to have the friends she made in the end, and then this one really had the feminism as well as the culture themes running through it. It was done incredibly well.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...