How have I actually not read Outrun the Moon or any Stacey Lee book before? Like how. My life feels so much more complete now.
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, a 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. Though fires might rage, and the city may be in shambles, Mercy can’t sit by while they wait for the army to bring help—she still has the “bossy” cheeks that mark her as someone who gets things done. But what can one teenage girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city?
I heard so much about this book before I picked it up. I always knew I wanted to get to it, but I never had the time. Then I got a job that required me to spend long amounts of time mailing books and I have now devoured audiobooks. And that was the best decision ever. I was able to finish this book is under a week – in a few days actually. I read it while I walked, did dishes, packed books, even brushed my teeth. Quickly I became obsessed.
With so much good reason. I knew from the first line I would love this book. That is literally one of my notes. Mercy immediately spoke to my heart. She is a character I needed to read growing up and even now. Growing up I needed to see her spark, her fight, and her kind heart. Now I need to see those more than ever. I need to remind myself in hope, the power of compassion, and representation.
(Representation not only in Chinese-American, but also in the cheek department).
Mercy stole the show for me. At the same time, I also adored the other girls around her and the way this book focused on friendship. Francesca was a big favorite of mine – even Elodie. The book continually surprised us – both in good and sad ways. There is a wealth of historical details that brings you right back to that time period. Even to the racism. Such fantastic world building which is so crucial in historical fiction.
The entire book is poignant, funny, and emotional. You will easily get caught up in Outrun the Moon and the audiobook narrator is fantastic. Pick this up on your next car trip, or even for your walks around the block. The ending is stunning and it celebrates dreams, determination, and an open heart.
Go look at Outrun the Moon on Goodreads.
What’s your favorite historical fiction setting?
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