Chains
published in 2010

Description

If an entire nation could seek its freedom, why not a girl? As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight...for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom. From acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson comes this compelling, impeccably researched novel that shows the lengths we can go to cast off our chains, both physical and spiritual.

The Booknixie's Review

Meg Solley
published March 06, 2013
The plot and historical details of Chains are also completely fascinating. The main character in this book is a young slave girl in New York (this setting, too, is rendered in colorful detail.) While Johnny Tremain’s arc was going from spoiled boy to stolid young man, Isabel spends every page fighting for the chance to grow up, while her status as a slave keeps her powerless and juvenile for life. Johnny’s path is difficult but clear; Isabel has no examples to guide her and no map to follow. Should she work to support the Revolutionary cause? In fact, the British may be more likely to free her than the Americans. This is a new perspective on the War for Independance. The characters in Chains are not as richly drawn as the Nixie might wish. In particular, the protagonist’s little sister Ruth was sadly more of a plot device than a person. And Chains is also guilty of the very great sin of a surprise cliff-hanger ending. Yes, it turns out there is a sequel which came out last year: Forge (the Nixie has not yet read it.) Still, for its very interesting story, its historical authenticity, and its important social message, the Nixie highly recommends Chains for kids in the 9 - 14 range.
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