cover image Walk on Earth a Stranger

Walk on Earth a Stranger

Rae Carson. Greenwillow, $17.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-06-224291-4

Carson (the Girl of Fire and Thorns series) launches her Gold Seer trilogy with a winning story set in 1849 gold rush America. Fifteen-year-old Leah Westfall lives a happy life with her parents in Georgia during the waning years of that state’s gold boom. Leah has a magical ability to locate the precious metal, but her gift becomes a liability when she is forced from her home by a villain determined to control her and make himself rich. Disguised as a boy, Leah—now Lee—decides that her best chance for freedom is to travel to the newly discovered gold fields of California; to get there, she must make a long, hard trek across the country with few resources. Carson’s story is simply terrific—tense and exciting, while gently and honestly addressing the brutal hardships of the westward migration. Even minor characters are fully three-dimensional, but it’s Leah who rightfully takes center stage as a smart, resourceful, determined, and realistic heroine who embodies the age-old philosophy that it isn’t what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters. Ages 13–up. Agent: Holly Root, Waxman Leavell Literary Agency. (Sept.)