Stacey Lee is a fourth generation Californian with roots in San Francisco Chinatown. Born in Southern California, she graduated from UCLA then got her law degree at UC Davis King Hall. She has lots of experience with earthquakes, having skinned her knees more times than she wants to remember diving under tables. One day she hopes to own a hypoallergenic horse and live by the sea.
Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee
San Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty in Chinatown, and an education at St. Clare’s School for Girls is her best hope. Although St. Clare’s is off-limits to all but the wealthiest white girls, Mercy gains admittance through a mix of cunning and a little bribery, only to discover that getting in was the easiest part. Not to be undone by a bunch of spoiled heiresses, Mercy stands strong—until disaster strikes.
On April 18, an historic earthquake rocks San Francisco, destroying Mercy’s home and school. With martial law in effect, she is forced to wait with her classmates for their families in a temporary park encampment. Mercy can't sit by while they wait for the Army to bring help. Fires might rage, and the city may be in shambles, yet Mercy still has the 'bossy' cheeks that mark her as someone who gets things done. But what can one teenaged girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city?
An e-galley was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I can't tell y'all how much I love historical fiction, especially when the author gets me invested in the story and characters. Stacey Lee is great at creating strong characters that I care about: first Samantha in Under a Painted Sky and now Mercy in Outrun the Moon. Mercy is driven and doesn't give up easily. She fights for her happiness, and she is kind, even if she is careful with her kindness. She mainly reserves it for her family, especially her brother, and those who have earned it, but she also helps the headmistress of St. Clare's, even when many would say the woman doesn't deserve Mercy's help.
I loved the Mrs. Lowry plot thread. It added depth to Mercy's character and was such a great motivating factor. The best part of the St. Clare's storyline is that I probably would've read a whole book about just that. I even forgot the earthquake was going to happen because I was so invested in Mercy at the school. I liked how the earthquake shook up (pun intended) the dynamics of the girls at the school. Disasters create strong bonds that might not have happened otherwise, and that's certainly the case here. The earthquake also meant we got to know the supporting characters a little better, and I appreciated that development for a lot of them.
The earthquake also caused a lot of sadness and, not gonna lie, there was one moment where my heart sank and I wanted to hug Mercy. I didn't cry, but I don't cry during a lot of books. On another note, the romance in this book is minor, and I think it needed a little more attention to make me care about Tom with Mercy.
The Verdict: Really good. There just wasn't that extra oomph to make this a five-star favorite read of mine.
Ma says we can measure our lives by our pain. There is the pain of our first steps, and of losing our first tooth. The pain of a parent's anger, and the disappointment when something doesn't go our way. Each advances us in some way, leading us further into the experience of being human. (from Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee)
Will I be adding this book to my library?: Yes! I've already preordered it.
(must provide transportation for the first two)
San Francisco Getaway:
Show Me San Francisco: