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?”
Mercy Wong is the epitome of what I love in a character. She’s quick-witted, persevering, strong-willed, and very caring. Chinese aside, I could identify with her in so many ways. Like her, I will try and try again to achieve my goals which often are for the benefit for my whole family which she and I also care deeply for. Throughout the novel, she is hilarious when speaking her thoughts and is constantly trying to make the best of each scenario which is something I admire since I can never quite do.
Also, the historical accuracies in this novel are 💯💯💯💯💯💯💯👌👌👌. My great grandfather lived in a Chinatown in Canada during the same time period, and the stories my grandfather used to tell me fit right into what Mercy and the other Chinese people had to experience in San Francisco’s Chinatown. The novel does no such thing to hide the white supremacy and condescending looks people would cast at those who were Chinese, and the accuracy of it was so on-point at times I had to constantly remind myself that while so much has improved, this still happens to some people all over the world and really needs to be stopped. Also, I loved how the novel went into detail about Mercy’s life and what that was like because I really loved the little references to Chinese culture. I could relate to it so much.
I also really loved Outrun the Moon for its great female friendships that Mercy developed while at St. Clare’s. The group of friends were so unlikely, but they worked so well with each other! It was so cute and, in a way, it reminded me of my own friends, in the sense that we help and stick by each other no matter what. I thought the characters were all written really well.
Lastly, the writing is absolutely spectacular. Stacey Lee has this way of writing such poetic sentences that really speak to the reader. It really works with the Chinese idioms/saying of which Mercy constantly quotes from her mother. They provide lots of encouragement and add lots of beauty to this story.
About the Author:
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. See what she’s up to on Twitter & Instagram: @staceyleeauthor.
Will you be reading Outrun the Moon?