This novel is a tough one to categorize. It is definitely a Young Adult novel, but does not fall completely in the fantasy category as the title would lead you to believe. Although, this first book sets us up for a great future fantasy series, Walk on Earth a Stranger read as more of a historical novel. It takes place during the Gold Rush, when hopeful men and women made the trek across country, led by stories of golden nuggets just sitting on the ground waiting to be picked up. I grew up in California, and this part of its history has always fascinated me. I am also a fan of fantasy and was interested to see how Rae Carson was going to mix these two genres together. Leah (Lee) Westfall, feels gold. Ok, that sounds weird, but her gift is that if gold is near, she can feel where it is and dig it out of the ground. Her family has kept this gift a secret, because, as you’d think, this could be a very advantageous gift for someone to have, and if she landed in the wrong hands, her life could become a prison of sorts. When bad things start to happen, it seems that someone has found out her secret. I know, that was very vague, but it is a pivotal moment in the book, and I don’t want to spoil the excellent way the author led you to it. Lee flees evil and ends up on a journey, disguised as a boy, to meet up with her best friend, who has joined the trek to California.
Rae Carson’s descriptions of life in a wagon train were so realistic that I could taste the dirt, and feel the grit between my teeth. Lee’s feelings and emotions were so mature and adult that I forgot I was reading about a seventeen year old girl, and became totally immersed in this story which is a sign of a truly talented writer. The second novel in this series will be released on September 27th, and I will definitely be picking up a copy to see how Lee’s journey continues.
Copyright 2016 Deborah Kehoe A Chick Who Reads All Rights Reserved