Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
Summary:Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend—who might want to be something more. She also has a secret.
Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it.
When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California—where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.
Walk on Earth a Stranger is an entertaining and action-packed story, but I can’t say it brings anything especially unique or new to the collection of YA westerns already published.
When Lee Westfall’s parents are murdered, she is forced to disguise herself as a boy and travel from her small Alabaman hometown all the way to California – where rumors of gold have sprouted. Except Lee has a secret: she has the power to sense gold, and, with the Gold Rush, it’s a power people would kill for.
Lee is a character you can’t help but sympathize and root for. She is thrown into such a difficult situation, and yet she still manages to stay strong and hope for the best.
I’m always wary of stories that rely strongly on both historical fiction and fantasy elements. They cause the story to turn into something that’s a bit unbelievable and exaggerated. Yet, with Walk on Earth a Stranger, Rae Carson manages to combine the historical fiction and fantasy elements of the story flawlessly. The way she utilizes and combines both genres adds to the impact of the story, and it is done in a way that makes sense.
As someone who lives in California, all throughout history class I’ve learned about the Gold Rush and how important it was. This being said, I was curious, and a bit anxious, to see how Carson would incorporate these historical details into the story, but she did so flawlessly. She captures the dangerous nature of the trip and the obstacles that come with it in a way that glued your eyes to the pages. Bandits, burgles, chorea…nothing came easy in this era, and Carson doesn’t let us forget that.
Walk on Earth a Stranger might not have brought anything especially new to the glowing collection of YA westerns, but it was an entertaining and gripping read regardless. Under a Painted Sky fans are going to love this.