My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sunday Street Team Review and 3 Great Giveaways!



Please Note:  I received an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  This does not change the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From GoodReads):

San Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty in 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, an historic earthquake rocks San Francisco, destroying Mercy’s home and school. With martial law in effect, she is forced to wait with her classmates for their families in a temporary park encampment. Mercy can't sit by while they wait for the Army to bring help. Fires might rage, and the city may be in shambles, yet Mercy still has the 'bossy' cheeks that mark her as someone who gets things done. But what can one teenaged girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city?


What does it take to give a book a five-star review?  For some it's a compelling story, for others, memorable characters and settings are the reason.  For me, a five-star book will get me so emotionally involved that it will get me crying at some point.  

So, yup: This book got a big old 

I must start out by telling you that I also have a "text to self connection" with this story.  My great- grandmother was also a teen and lived through the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.  I remember her telling us stories of how she sat with her family on a hill and watched as the city was destroyed by a huge fire.  They lost everything (including her birth certificate).  We never did know exactly how old she was.  So when I saw the sign ups for this book, I had to jump in.

The story tells the tale of Mercy Wong, a Chinese-American who lives in the Chinatown section of San Francisco.  Wanting a better education, Mercy talks her way into an exclusive school for young women that she hopes will teach her business skills so she can become her own boss.  What she gets instead are lessons in elocution and social graces.  This was typical for women's schools of the time.  She butts heads with her roommate and others who are prejudiced.  But all of this is put aside as the ground begins to shake and the girls must work together to survive.

I was very struck by the details of the earthquake, and it's aftermath.  Apparently many people took refuge in Golden Gate Park (one of my favorite places!).  But with no food or shelter, it must have been chaos.  Was my own great-grandmother there?  She must have thought the world was ending (I'm in tears as I write this).  I think the book captures how frightening this time must have been.

But (without giving anything away) even in the most dire of circumstances, people will rise to the occasion and perform acts of kindness.  I loved how the book showed the hopeful aspect of this tragedy.

The book also brought to life much of the injustice that people of Chinese descent endured during that time.  It's one thing to read about this in a history book, but quite another to see how strongly this affected people.  Laws were specifically targeted to make life difficult.  After 1882, Chinese were barred from immigrating to the U.S.. That meant that there were very few Chinese women around.  Since it would have been unthinkable to marry someone outside their race, this was a serious problem.  There were also laws designed to just make life hard, such as the Sidewalk Ordinance that said one couldn't carry laundry on a pole.  This book showed how this community was just trying to get by.  Much of Chinatown was destroyed in the Great Fire.

I loved this book.  I think it should be read by anyone who wants to read about this time in our history.  With a great story and wonderful characters, this is a must read.


Release Date:  May 24th, 2016

Source:  Sunday Street Team Blog Tour (Thank you Nori from ReadWriteLove and Rachel Lodi of Penguin Young Readers).

Format:  E-book ARC

Recommendation:  An historical fiction that will leave you feeling like you were actually in San Francisco in 1906.  Wonderfully detailed.



 And now for some amazing giveaways!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  1. Wonderful review! I'm going to add this to my TBR for sure! Do you happen to know if those giveaways are open internationally?

    1. The shawl giveaway only actually :D. I'm pretty sure I won't be visiting San Francisco before 2017 ;)

    2. Hi Anne. I checked with the organizers and they said it was US only. I'm sorry!

    3. Darnit! Understandable, though :). Thank you for asking!

  2. Awwww hugs for crying but cheers for it being amazing and a 5 star read!

    1. I was so lucky to meet Stacey Lee last Friday at the local B'Fest! She was so nice and talked with me for a long time!


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