Gold Mountain

Carolrhoda Lab. Apr. 2022. 288p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781728415826.
Gr 7 Up–After the death of her twin brother, Tam Ling Fan assumes his identity to travel from 1860s Qing dynasty China to the Western United States and take his job building the transcontinental railroad. She needs to earn enough money for the bribes needed to free her wrongfully imprisoned father. In America, she must deal with dangerous work, low pay, racism, and keeping her female identity a secret. When the number of work accidents becomes suspiciously high, it is obvious that someone is sabotaging their efforts and Ling Fan finds herself caught in the middle of an impossible situation. In learning of the other workers’ reasons for working the railroad and why some are choosing sabotage, Ling Fan examines her own reasoning behind her actions. The tangled motivations of Yee’s characters add much to the story, such as discussing how the railroad affected the Indigenous people already living on the land, or workers returning to China when the railroad was completed.
VERDICT A thought-provoking adventure that adds more nuance and complexity to the history of the building of the transcontinental railroad.

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