By Stacey Lee
G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2016, 391 pages, Young Adult Fiction
In San Francisco, Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from poverty in Chinatown, and she gains admittance to a prestigious finishing school through a mix of cunning and bribery. She soon discovers that getting in was the easiest part, and must carve a niche among the spoiled heiresses. When the earthquake strikes on April 18, 1906, Mercy and her classmates are forced to a survivor encampment, but her quick-witted leadership rallies them to help in the tragedy's aftermath.
Stacey Lee’s first book, Under a Painted Sky, was one of my favorite reads of 2015. I’ve been waiting for this book to come out with great anticipation. I love that Lee is consciously writing about historic events from diverse viewpoints, and I enjoyed seeing the world through the lens of a different culture. This book is almost two different stories: The tale of a determined young Chinese American girl trying to make her way in the world, and the tale of how San Francisco was affected by the infamous earthquake and subsequent fires. While this book deals with events that are more tragic than those that happen in Under a Painted Sky, I still liked the hopeful message and gladly recommend it.