This book tugged on every heart string I had. I did not expect the ending at all. The story started out a little slow for me – building up the family dynamic between Lucy and Sam took a few chapters for me to get into but I was eventually hooked. Lucy is the classic responsible older sister and Sam is the younger wild child. This family dynamic is one that a lot of people can relate to in their own lives, even though their story begins with the tragic death of their father. What I personally loved about this book was how Zhang drew you in to the back stories of Lucy, Sam and their parents. Although it was set during a tumultuous time, the Gold Rush, both Sam and Lucy found their own sense of home amongst the chaos. They lived in poverty and were constantly on edge with their father working a dangerous job as a mine worker but still found a way to enjoy their lives. This is a great metaphor for everything that has happened in the last year. No one expected quarantine. No one expected the pandemic. No one expected their lives to be completely turned upside down. I know I sure didn’t! But what I learned from this book and the last year is that you can always find a sense of belonging when you’re with your family. Family doesn’t have to be your blood relatives, it is whoever you consider to be your family. I wouldn’t have gotten through the past year without my family – chosen and blood. Lucy and Sam show the same values in How Much of These Hills is Gold. When you’re with the people who care most about you, you will always be a winner.