Parents' Guide to

Under a Painted Sky

By Lucinda Dyer, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Girls pose as boys in suspenseful, nontraditional Western.

Under a Painted Sky Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 14+

Difficult Material

My 13 year-old daughter bought this book because it had a Chinese character (like her) and horses (her passion). She was shocked at the rape scene, and abandoned the book. I read it and appreciated it, but the 12+ rating is off the mark. Full disclosure: we are a very liberal family and I am an ELA teacher.
age 14+

Fun adventure for slightly older crowd!

I enjoyed this book thoroughly, but as your younger reviewers have indicated, twelve seems young for your age group. This is one of those rare books where it is more "adult" than "young" because of actual topic matter. Rapes, prostitution, murders, and "frolics" in the dirt are handled in a completely tasteful, almost charming way, but that's what they obviously still are. I loved the humor, action, voice, and sentiment in the book, but as a sixth/seventh grade librarian, this will stay on my home shelf rather than the school shelf.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (10 ):

Beautifully written and immensely readable, Stacey Lee's first novel puts an unexpected and richly detailed spin on Western fiction standards -- horses, cowboys, wagon trains, pioneers, outlaws. It deftly blends them with serious social issues like slavery, discrimination, and gender bias. Sammy and Andy, who could easily have become characters out of a cliché "switched identities" movie, are instead fresh and believable as wannabe cowboys. Lee's multicultural cast of characters lends authenticity (so often lacking) to a story about settling the West.

Book Details

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