Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

Genre: young adult, historical fiction, slavery, Revolutionary War
FTC Disclosure: bought from Dragons and Fairy Tales
Published: 2008
Pages: 300
Content: PG for violence and war
Reading Challenges: Women Unbound, A to Z Challenge (Title C), 2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge, Black History Month mini reading challenge

One Line Summary: Which side to join? The patriots or loyalists when one is a slave.

I liked this book. It was a little slow to start with but picked up towards the middle. We follow slave Isabel and her little sister Ruth from the death of mother and her mistress to being illegally sold to a Loyalist family in New York.

Isabel reaches New York just a couple of months before independence is declared in July of 1776. Her goal is to survive long enough to escape with her sister back to her home of Rhode Island. But now she's caught between to wars and oppressors vieing for her loyalty. Her only friend is fellow slave Curzon whose master is a Patriot. She agrees to spy on her master in order to gain her freedom.

This was a great introduction for early teens/preteens to get into historical fiction and slavery. Things move along at a pretty fast rate and lots of information is thrown in too. But as an adult I found it a bit too simplified and not enough character development. I wanted to know more about Isabel, but Anderson just didn't share enough. I wanted more details, etc. But like I said it's a great intro for kids into this material. And it opens up plenty of discussion about the Revolutionary War and slavery so that's always a good thing.

I picked this one up for my book club; it was my turn to pick a book and thought this would be a great one for Black History month and since the main character is a woman I also felt it would go right along with my Women Unbound Challenge as well.

Rating: 3.5/5


  1. Great review. Kike you said it sounds like a great book for an introduction to the topic of slavery.

  2. Sounds indeed like a great book for the subject history in highschool. Would use it if it was translated! :)
    Sounds like a great book to read.

  3. Howdi Gofita :) And Happy Belated Valentine's Day! I'm just popping by from vvb32 to visit your blog (love your movie meme!!!!) ~


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