Walk on Earth A Stranger

Walk on Earth A Stranger

Book - 2015
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Lee Westfall, a young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold, must flee her home to avoid people who would abuse her powers, so when her best friend Jefferson heads out across Gold Rush-era America to stake his claim, she disguises herself as a boy and sets out on her own dangerous journey.
Publisher: New York :, Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers,, [2015]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062242914
Branch Call Number: Y Fiction
Characteristics: 436 pages : map ; 22 cm


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I loved this book. The sequels get progressively worse, but this book was great.

AshleyF2008 Apr 15, 2018

There was never a dull moment in this book. The journey that Leah goes on feels just as long for the reader, though I feel like it is supposed to. It also makes me feel very lucky to live in the times we do. The characters are well-rounded, for the most part. I do wish we knew a little more about why the antagonist does what he does. Perhaps that will come later.

There isn't a dramatic climax and, though I enjoyed it, I don't know if I liked it enough to continue reading the trilogy.

Mar 22, 2018

This book really surprised me. I had been avoiding this title, only because I was afraid of how the author would handle Leah's gold-finding ability. I wasn't prepared for the book to be focused on her making her way across the US to California, and for it to be so historically accurate. I wasn't prepared to be so emotionally invested in Leah and her travelling companions either. I really loved Rae Carson's writing- the way she fleshed out her characters and settings brought them to life in my mind so vividly, it felt like I was on the trail myself. Carson has characters fall ill, get injured, and die. She explains each in detail. Leah pretends to be a boy, and goes into her struggles to survive as a female in 1849. It feels real- so real, in fact, that when Leah talks about her "witchy powers" and finds gold, that I completely believe it. I will most definitely be continuing on to the next. I'm not yet ready to let go of Jefferson, the Hoffmans, or Jasper and the Major, and I'm extremely curious how Leah is going to keep her powers a secret during the height of the California Gold Rush.

Nov 24, 2017

Totally agree with other reviewers! It's by an established fantasy writer and has a great plot twist in Leah's "special" ability; it won the 2016 Spurs Award for Juvenile Fiction (Westerns); and is a page-turning historical novel about a young woman's odyssey to California with the '49ers. But this shouldn't be seen as only a genre or young adult novel -- it has broad appeal ... easy to enjoy and hard to put down.

Sep 29, 2017

This is one of my new favorite books. Holy crap. I didn't want to put it down. It was different and adventurous and fearless and just so good. I loved Leah and her perspective. Her voice was strong and unique and was just the type of character I love to read about. The historical time period is one I haven't read about much and it was awesome to dive into. I loved the little twinge of magic but only enough to make the book unique. The chosen family aspect -- I'm always a sucker for that. But just the plot and the adventure itself! Man, talk about intense and realistic. There was no fear and I felt like I was sucked into the best game of Oregon Trail ever. I am so excited that there is more to this story and more to these characters. Also, I love that there was just enough romance to keep it interesting but it didn't consume the whole book. Which in my opinion is more realistic. And the people of all walks of life that it brought together, the contrast of goodness and badness in people was well done, and only slightly clishe but not enough to be annoying. And finally, the best part, the writing was good. It was varied and detailed and sucked you right in. What a stellar book.

Library_Jill May 09, 2017

This is one of those rare books that speaks to my three favorite genres in the same story--fantasy, historical fiction (with the added bonus of being set during the westward expansion), and romance. I loved the emotional ups and downs of the story that felt very realistic to me--I would hope against hope for Lee to catch a break as hardship piled on hardship, and then be totally surprised by rare, fortunate coincidences. I loved how all of the characters developed throughout the story, and I can't wait to read the next book in the series!

MelifluousView May 07, 2017

Lee's journey West was interesting even though it was familiar. I enjoyed the blend of history and fantasy. Lee's relationship with Jefferson was developed well and felt realistic.

cmlibrary_khunter Feb 22, 2017

Deep in the north Georgian mountains in the gold rush city of Dahlonega, Leah Westfall lives with her parents, her father a fairly infamous miner nicknamed "Lucky" who has a chronic illness and her mother a city-born gal from Boston. Lee is the reason her father is lucky because she can sense gold. When rumors abound about gold in California, Lee's best friend Jefferson decides to set out to the West and he asks Lee to go with him, but she refuses due to her family. However, a few days later, she discovers her family murdered and her Uncle Hiram comes to town, with Lee believing he knows of her gold sense and plans to use her. Secretly she plots to run away to find Jeff as he seems to be the only person she can trust. With the help of a local merchant who just happens to be a free black man, Lee disguises herself as a boy and travels northwest with her horse Peony intending to meet up with Jeff in Independence, Missouri. While on the road, she is set upon by bandits and robbed, managing to escape and at least keep her horse. Desperate for food and funds, not to mention fearful that Uncle Hiram is close behind her, she signs onto a wagon train in Chattanooga and manages to make her way to Independence where she hopes Jeff awaits to escape to California.

This adventure is a blend of old Western and just a hint of magic (or rather a super-human ability much like our beloved superheroes), but Rae Carson writes just as magnificently with a little element of fantasy as she did in a fully imagined fantasy world like The Girl of Fire and Thorns series. I love the references to local history, especially that of the gold rushes in Georgia and North Carolina, like the note that there once was a gold mint in Dahlonega, GA, (marked with the “D” that Denver now uses). Carson recreates the sense of rural Southern life with deep spirituality, the distrust yet charitable feeling given to strangers, the dangers of the culture especially for women and black folk, and the spirit of the wagon train traveling the Oregon Trail.

I think you’ll be surprised how things change for Lee and how, despite being a girl and the cultural attitude towards women, she shows courage, leadership, and responsibility beyond her years and the expectations of those around her. Truly, she’s an inspiring role model of a heroine while still staying true to the historical detail. If you liked the Oregon Trail game and adventures, you’ll like this book, and stay tuned for book two, Like a River Glorious, as more magic, adventure, and high stakes follow Lee and Jefferson in California.

Feb 06, 2017

What versatility this author has. This book is completely different from her other series. Found the theme of this book unique to others of this genre. Good character development and plot, interesting and effective level of dialogue/language usage. Found the ending founders a bit. Looking forward to the next installment ( in which I think the author will make up for the weakness of the last few pages).

Oct 28, 2016

Lee Westfall is a young girl growing up in the 1800’s. She lives on a wonderful homestead with her father and mother. Since she is the only child, she does what she needs to help the family out: hunt, plant, helps out with the household chores. She also has her best friend – Jefferson. All is well until her mother and father are murdered and she is left alone. Jefferson has already left to get away from his father. Lee knowns who killed her mother and father and will do anything to get away from that person, even dress as a boy. The Gold Rush was on and many were heading to California. Lee experiences many trials and tribulations while crossing the United States with the wagon trail including being found out (that she was a girl). She has to learn that she will be able to trust some and some not so much, especially with her secret. In the end, she will find out that you do not have to be born of the same blood to be family. Loved the historical fiction! As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it's in hot water.” Lee proves how strong she really is during this leg of her journey. Cannot wait to read the second book.

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