It’s 1849 in rural Missouri, and 15-year-old Samantha Young is the only daughter of a Chinese immigrant. Like many fortune-seeking pioneers during the Gold Rush, Samantha’s father has plans to move out West—until a tragedy leaves Samantha orphaned and penniless. To make matters worse, she is then attacked, and though quick thinking saves her life, she accidentally leaves the attacker dead.
Disguised as boys, Samantha and a slave girl named Annamae escape into the frontier, where they’re not the only outlaws hiding out on the open plains. Their chances for survival are slim until a trio of young cowboys—rare, endearing gentlemen in a lawless landscape—take the girls, renamed Sammy and Andy, under their tutelage and offer protection and friendship. As the group of five head west, the dangers mount, but so do the laughs and camaraderie.
Stacey Lee’s debut is a beautifully narrated story about first loves, unbreakable friendships and family found in unlikely strangers.
Kimberly Giarratano is the author of Grunge Gods and Graveyards, a young adult paranormal mystery.