Outrun the Moon
By Stacey Lee copyright 2016
Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong yearns to break free of the poverty in Chinatown. Clever and determined, she strikes a deal to attend St. Clare’s School for Girls in exchange for a business deal with the president of the board. This is quite a feat since only the wealthiest white girls attend the school.
The story takes the reader through the historic San Francisco earthquake that occurred in 1906. People were forced to flee their homes and businesses after the earthquake unsettled the foundations of buildings, which either crumpled instantly or were in danger of collapse at any moment. Fires overtook the city and food and water became scarce to nonexistent.
Outrun the Moon is Stacey Lee’s second historical novel for young adults, and the genre shines under Lee’s careful handling.
Aspects of the story that I liked:
- Mercy, the protagonist, is a strong female character that persists against the many odds that come against her. She’s smart, spunky, and determined.
- Tom, the handsome boy she likes. Mercy is unsure whether her strong character is too much for him. Would he ever consider her in his future? (You’ll like where this relationship leads.) He is intrigued with air travel and has his own hot air balloon.
- The author portrays how prejudice ran rampant at this point of history, but amazingly, in times of disaster people came together.
- The portrayal of the historic earthquake was well researched, and as in all good historical fiction, the reader “experiences” a part of history.
- Mercy is able to look beyond her own losses and help strangers in need.
- The culture of Chinatown is vividly described, and the reader easily slips into the shoes of Mercy Wong.
Enjoy this engaging story with its theme of a young woman overcoming overwhelming difficulties. Definitely add this to your diverse fiction TBR list!