Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

Under a Painted Sky - Stacey Covington-Lee

Look at the cover of this book! It’s beautiful, but it also really matches the title. That is a beautiful painted sky…

Often the cover a book will catch my eye and make me pause, but a cover alone won’t make me read a book. If the synopsis (and my friends opinions) conflict with my initial gut response to the pretty picture, I’ll definitely put the book back. I don’t get suckered, or at least I consciously try not to. So, as much as this book is simply stunning it was the colors AND the synopsis that pulled me in and made me read. It sounded so fantastic. Two young women, running for their lives, heading out on the Oregon Trail. I mean, even the words ‘Oregon Trail’ make me excited. It’s probably stems from how many times I died of Dysentery in the computer game. Anyway, Under a Painted Sky felt like a sure thing.

Have patience in one moment of anger, and you will avoid one hundred days of sorrow.

One of the first notes I made when reading Under a Painted Sky was that it felt like Sammy seemed to get over her tragedy so fast. I mean, it was a massive loss and I thought she didn’t seem to show the pain the way I thought she should. However, as the story goes on, you see that she actually didn’t get past it. It stays with her the entire book. I began to recognize that her circumstances didn’t allow her to sit and wallow. Sammy was trying to survive, and that came first. I think that quote sums up pretty much exactly what the main character Sammy was going through; a deep sorrow that was always inside her.

Sammy’s sorrow was perfectly countered by Andy’s grit. Both girls had goals, both girls lived through tragedy. Where Sammy was learning how to be tough, Andy WAS tough. Her life as a slave had built in her an ability to survive odds that Sammy just didn’t have. She was teaching Sammy to be a rattlesnake, when she herself actually was. The two girls balanced each other really well, and both of the girls were strongly written, with characteristics that were completely their own. However, for me, Andy was the standout. Through her actions, and her stories, she was clearly the leader and she shone.

What I wasn’t expecting was for the boys (West, Cay and Petey) to be so pivotal to the story. I had no idea that they would be so vibrant, based on the back of the book. They were mentioned as an afterthought, but they were so much more than that. Just like Sammy and Andy, all three boys in Under a Painted Sky also had their own personalities, with West being the serious brooder, Cay being the ladies man, and Petey being the sweet one. Their antics made you laugh, and each of their own history’s tugged on your heartstrings. They definitely wound up being one of the highlights of the story.

I did have one small complaint. The end felt slightly unrealistic. It wasn’t wrapped up in a perfect little bow or anything, but at the same time it did feel a little over the top. The author traded one happy ending for a different one, and maybe possibly (I thought) it should have been a little less predictable.

Overall though, good. Good, with a drop dead gorgeous cover. 4 skulls.

See this review, and others, at Badass Book Reviews!