When a friend texted me that they were giving out ARCs of Rae Carson’s upcoming novel, Walk on Earth a Stranger in her autograph line at BookCon, I sprinted to join the line and grab my copy. Once I got my hands on this book, it was my first priority to read post-convention. It is the first book in a new series by Rae Carson.
Set during the California Gold Rush, this is the story of a girl with a distinct advantage: she can sense gold in the ground. But with a sick father who cannot travel and is unwilling to part from her, Lee Westfall must say goodbye to her best friend, Jefferson, as he heads west without her. Then the unthinkable happens and she finds herself following behind Jefferson and hoping she will catch up. But in the time when women did little beyond childcare, her best option is pretending to be male on her trek halfway across the country.
For anyone who grew up playing Oregon Trail in school, this book will be quite nostalgic for you– the strangers teaming up for survival, hunting, sickness, fear, waiting. And the added fear of never being quite sure who we could trust. Along the journey, Lee met thieves, arrogant men who believed they were untouchable, freed slaves facing racism every day, racist men believing all Native Americans deserved death, and many friendly faces that may have surprised her.
Lee struggles in a world that is not ready for her. Despite the societal norms, she refuses to give up, instead showing that she can be as physically fit as her male counterparts, all while trying to hide the signs of her growing womanhood. It was certainly not an easy journey, but it was one that left Lee stronger, more confident, and less alone than the girl she was before she left. It brought a feminist feel to a world before feminism was an option.
Though the story started off slow and was full of (justified) frustration, it certainly had some inspiring turns and a satisfying ending to the first leg of Lee’s journey.
I am definitely excited to see what will come of this story moving forward.
Rating: 4 stars.
WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER comes out on September 22!
Can’t wait that long? Read an excerpt now!
Here’s EpicRead’s book trailer for the book (warning: minor spoilers ahead)