Due to the sheer amount of reviews I have planned, I will not be doing a book board for all of my reviews. However, I have edited Aentee’s gorgeous banner so you can still have a pretty graphic on top! First up, in celebration of the paperback book birthday of Outrun the Moon, I present to you my Historical Fiction with Asian MC read!
One day, I will feel creative enough once again to do my own summaries. In the meantime, thank you Goodreads! 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?
In California, earthquakes are unfortunately very common. We have earthquake drills as often as fire and lockdown drills, if not more often. At this point, unless the ceiling is actually crashing down or stuff is rolling around the room, we don’t call it an earthquake. There was actually an earthquake that took place in Santa Monica that I had no clue about until someone posted something about it on Twitter. That being said, I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been told that we’re way overdue for the “big one,” that one that will just completely wreck all of California. Reading this book about the last “big one” really put things into perspective for me, and it helped that it had such a wonderful main character, gorgeous writing, and a beautiful cover!
First of all, can we talk about how much I adore Mercy Wong as a character? I love her ambitious attitude and the way she was able to negotiate tough business situations so deftly. She is honestly the type of person I aspire to be. The way she navigated herself into and through St. Clare’s was a force to behold, and I wish we got more time to see her stand up for herself at the school. I think that’s one of the reasons why this book didn’t get an even higher rating; I wanted more school scenes with Mercy not taking cr*p from anyone and less of the earthquake scenes. Because here’s the thing: the earthquake freaked me out much more than I care to admit. It forced me to consider the high possibility that something as devastating as this could occur in my lifetime. I also made me realize that I am NOT ready at all should an earthquake of this magnitude strike. However, I still was really inspired by Mercy’s leadership following the earthquake. I’m honestly not sure that I would be able to stay so level-headed in the face of a natural disaster.
Other things to note: the writing in this book is a very distinct style which I personally fell in love with, especially with phrases such as “pampered peacock with the temper of a rattlesnake.” It allows for a much more interesting and dynamic telling of a story that might otherwise have only been tragedy. Another thing that was a bit disorienting at first was the sudden introduction of almost all the girls at St. Clare’s. I had a hard time keeping track of who was who at first, although this problem resolved itself by the end. Last but not least, I’m so excited about all the Chinese culture that was discussed in the book, from the superstitions against the number four to Chinese medicine. There were so many descriptions of Chinese culture in this book and it honestly just made me feel so happy, made me feel welcomed.
All in all, I would recommend Outrun the Moon to basically everyone unless you are uncomfortable with the trauma that can occur due to natural disasters. Otherwise, I say you should go read this book, especially if you’re a historical fiction lover! The book is out in paperback today, so no excuses!