Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee (@staceyleeauthor)

There are certain books – approximately twelve a year – that I read because I have to. They’re book club books. I don’t get to choose. Well, untrue, I chose not to read a couple last year because – why punish myself with bad books. Reading is supposed to be fun. When I saw Under a Painted Sky was the first book for 2016, I had no reaction. I’d never heard of it. I was unaware of the hype. I didn’t read the blurb. I just grabbed the audiobook and got started. This is not my type of book. Nope. I dislike historical fiction. I dislike Westerns. I would never have picked this book up on my own. I would have picked it up based on the cover, read the blurb, put it back down, and never thought about it again. Sometimes, my preferences steer me wrong. This book is damn entertaining.

Not only do we get the story of two girls bonding in friendship over shared trauma, but also one of forced exploration of self. Samantha and Annamae have both been ripped from their families and are now facing a potential life of prostitution. Annamae is already living in the whorehouse when Samantha is brought in, but she sees opportunity in Samantha’s desperation and leads them on their escape. Continue reading