Black Storm Comin' (Hardcover)
Margaret K. McElderry, 9780689871375, 304pp.
Publication Date: July 5, 2005
YOUNG, SKINNY, WIRY FELLOWS NOT OVER EIGHTEEN. MUST BE EXPERT RIDERS. WILLING TO RISK DEATH DAILY. ORPHANS PREFERRED.
When Colton Wescott sees this sign for the Pony Express, he thinks he has the solution to his problems. He's stuck with his ma and two younger sisters on the wrong side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, with no way to get across. They were on a wagon train heading to California when Pa accidentally shot Colton and then galloped away. Ma is sick, and Colton needs money to pay the doctor. He'd make good money as a Pony rider.
Colton also needs to get to California -- urgently -- to deliver freedom papers to Ma's sister, a runaway slave. The Pony Express job could get him there. There's a catch, though. Colton may look almost as white as his pa, but he knows from bitter experience what can happen when people find out Ma is black. To be a Pony rider, he'll have to "pass" for white. That scares him, and for good reason. If his secret is discovered, he could hang.
Soon Colton is on the ride of his life, racing the dangerous route over the mountains. He's riding for his family, for freedom, and maybe even to help keep a divided America together. As the nation plunges toward civil war, Colton struggles to unite the two parts of his own identity in this gripping, atmospheric adventure.