Category: YA Fiction
Published: September 2015
Read: February 2017
Synopsis: (Goodreads) Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend—who might want to be something more. She also has a secret.
Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it.
When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California—where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.
Review: This was a book that I was not sure if I would like or not as it’s concept was different but it turns out I thought it was a great book and I absolutely loved it. So much so that I have already got the second instalment and look forward to the third.
It’s a take on the western YA style with Leah Westfall as the main character. Set in the mid 1800’s during the gold rush Leah is someone who can sense gold which makes her very secretive because this is something everyone wants. What is better during this time than a sense to sense gold?! She lives with her parents until they are killed and her uncle is trying to possess her as she thinks he knows her secret. So she takes off after her best friend to head to California where there is gold to be had, and so much so you can pick it right up off the ground.
Due to the time period she has to dress up as a boy to make her way across and until she finds her friend she meets both good people and bad people. One notable character is Becky whom is a big part of this book and one character who you hate at first but grows on you as you get to know her better and why she is the way she is. Plus being a mother myself I understand her need to protect her children.
She finally meets up with her friend and they journey out with a group of wagons and a rag-tag group of people to make it to California. It’s adventurous, and dangerous. You meet Native Americans as well as stampedes of buffalo. There were parts where i was on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen and if they were going to make it.
The writing was so good that I felt like i was right there. I also like how the author touches on thins like the Native Americans and how people were so scared of them and vilified them but in reality they were just families trying to make it as well. There is also a LGBTQ part of this story which is also interesting because of the time period. It’s an easy read as far as the writing goes but very descriptive. You can tell there was research done in to this story.
My only problem is with Leah’s uncle. The end was anti climatic and I get it’s setting up for the next book but he was made out to be worse than he seems to be. I am hoping that this changes in the next story.
This is a great YA read but I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone younger than 14. There is sex mentioned in it and injuries and racism. Which are all great subjects to teach about but might be a bit overwhelming for anyone super young.
YOU WILL LIKE THIS BOOK IF YOU LIKE: Westerns, action, adventure, books with a bit of romance. YA books that are trilogy.