Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee

Outrun the Moon

by Stacey Lee

From the author of the critically acclaimed Under a Painted Sky, an unforgettable story of determination set against a backdrop of devastating tragedy. Perfect for fans of Code Name Verity.

Winner of the PEN Center USA Literary Award for Young Adult
Winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature

San Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty of 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. Now she’s 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?

Stacey Lee masterfully crafts another remarkable novel set against a unique historical backdrop. Strong-willed Mercy Wong leads a cast of diverse characters in this extraordinary tale of survival.

Reviewed by girlinthepages on

4 of 5 stars

You guys this was my first Stacey Lee book and it was SO GOOD. I was lucky enough to attend the launch party for Outrun the Moon, and I loved the mini-presentation Stacey gave on the historical background of San Francisco. It was the perfect context to have when I started this book and Stacey's writing did not disappoint. I was truly transported back to turn of the century San Francisco, and it was a thrill to read about neighborhoods that I've walked through and learn of their culture and residences over a hundred years ago. Mercy was such a great main character, and I loved the juxtaposition of her family's Chinese heritage and beliefs and her time spent at St. Clare's School and its decidedly Western perspective. When the earthquake hits and thousands of people are displaced from their homes, it was interesting to see so many different cultures and people from different backgrounds have to come together, as the earthquake was a great equalizer for many, at least in the immediate aftermath. Also, this book is truly a testament to girl power, with Mercy and her unlikely circle of friends all having very different strengths but the common traits of resilience and kindness in common.

Overall: Outrun the Moon is a fantastic book, with a ton of diversity and a very well researched historical setting. Even if you're not traditionally a fan of historical fiction, I think Lee's writing is engaging enough to captivate you and make you relate and empathize with the humanity of the characters. I encourage everyone to read this book!This review was originally posted on Girl in the Pages

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Reading updates

  • Started reading
  • 25 July, 2016: Finished reading
  • 25 July, 2016: Reviewed