Walk on Earth a Stranger, by Rae Carson

December 2, 2016

Review by Ethan Romer

“When there’s gold to be had, you can’t trust anyone.  Not a single soul.” 

This was Leah Westfall’s dark realization when a person close to her betrayed her while he was in pursuit of gold. In Rae Carson’s “Walk on Earth a Stranger,” Leah has special powers – she can  sense where gold is hidden in the earth.  Although this might seem like a valuable skill, it turns out to be very dangerous for her.  It might just get her killed.The book is set in 1849 when the California gold rush has just begun.  Almost everyone is heading West.  But Leah is happy in her hometown of Dahlonega, Georgia.  Then disaster strikes.  Leah’s parents are murdered, and she has no choice but to run away to California with the hope of meeting up with her best friend Jefferson McCauley.  The road to California is not easy.  Leah pretends to be a man to work her way onto a flatboat and a wagon train.  Will the friends reunite? Will she find gold?  Can she survive crossing the whole country? Or will she meet the same demise as her parents?

I enjoyed this book for several reasons.  First, the characters were extremely well developed.  For example, Rae Carson described Jefferson so well that I could envision what he would be like in real life.  In addition, I personally enjoy historical fiction, particularly books about the gold rush, because I like imagining what it would be like panning for gold and surviving in the wilderness.  Finally, I’m certain that a lot of other students at Jordan can relate to this  book because most of them went on a school field trip to a place similar to the setting of this book.  For anyone who enjoys this book, there’s good news. Rae Carson has already written the sequel, and the third is coming out next year. This book has a medley of all emotions; it is very sad, touching, heartwarming, and happy. That is why I give this book 4 ½ stars.

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