Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Title: Walk on Earth a Stranger 
Author: Rae Carson
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (an imprint of Harper Collins)
Publication Date: September 22nd, 2015

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Photo Credit: @stephanieleannebookish

There’s something so charming about Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson. At first, I was captivated by the plot and how the story opens. So, it’s 1849 and the Gold Rush is in full swing, but our main character, Leah Westfall, has an impossible secret. Leah has the magical ability to sense gold and it seems someone may be onto her secret after all.

The story opens with the death of Leah’s parents and the discovery that her Uncle, the only living person to know of Leah’s secret, has swiftly come into town to take ownership of her home, her rights, and her “witching” powers. So, Leah changes her identity and hightails it West to California.

Now, I thought this story would read more like a fantasy novel, but it reads more like a historical fiction with a magical realism twist. Leah’s magical ability is what causes the plot to move forward, but overall the story is rich with historical detail and the gruesome realities of traveling across America in search of Gold.

While I could spend a deal of time discussing how much I enjoyed the plot, though admittedly slow at times, the characters are what makes this series worth reading and ultimately what kept me engrossed. I lived for these characters, even the characters who nestled under my skin. I continued to root for each character and hope for their well being in the end.

I have read a total of five YA Westerns and have come to the realization that fleshed out and flawed characters paired with character development is what makes or breaks a Western. Yeah, you can have a thrilling shoot ‘em up, but what about the parts in between when the characters have to spend three months crossing a boring desert? That’s right, you get to know the characters, and Carson does an amazing job fleshing out and developing her characters. I am so attached to almost every ‘good’ character we meet that I feel as if I know them and I continue to think about them every day… and truly I don’t cry easily, but lord help me this book had me shedding a tear left and right!

A solid 4/5 ⭐️ read!

-Steph (Assistant Teen Librarian)

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