Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Chains (Seeds of America, #1)Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

AR Reading Level: 5.2
On the library stacks: Young Adult Fiction
Awards: Parent's Choice Award/Honor Book; National Book Award Nominee; Carnegie Medal/Honors; ALA Notable/Best Books; Scott O'Dell Award; Publishers Weekly Best Book; Booklist Editors' Choice
Series: Book 1 of 3 (Seeds of America) 
Recommended for: Grades 7+

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Isabel is a 13-year old slave who lives with her 5-year old sister in Rhode Island. After her owner dies, they are meant to be set free. But they are illegally sold to a cruel couple and are taken to New York City where they live.

What Isabel doesn't realize is that she has been taken to the middle of a war zone--Loyalists vs. Patriots. Her master is a Loyalist, but she knows that the Patriots proclaim that "all men are created equal." In the hopes of obtaining her freedom, Isabel becomes a spy until things go horribly wrong.

There are so many really great things about this book. It tackles a time and place and circumstance that is often overlooked. New York was a critical hold for the British during the Revolution and approximately 20% of the population at the time were slaves. Both sides tried offered deals for slaves in exchange for their support, but both had their own agendas and little concern for the plight of the slaves.

Isabel is a well-written complex character. I hurt and ached right along with her. The violence in this book is graphic and was even hard for me to read, but I think this book is an accurate and excellent piece of historical fiction. Laurie Halse Anderson has clearly done her research and I give her kudos for writing this series. I can't wait to read the next one.

Also reviewed by: Bloggin' 'bout BooksBecky's Book Reviews ~ It's All About Books ~ Reviews of Young Adult Literature ~ Book Nut ~ A Comfy Chair and a Good Book ~ Maw Books ~ cucullus non facit monachum ~ Your link here?

Source: Purchased


bermudaonion said...

I'm a big fan of Anderson's work because she isn't afraid to tackle tough subjects like this one. I'm anxious to read this book.

Veens said...

I really need to read her book Speak. I have been wanting to read it for a long time!

I am going to add this one as well to my wishlist.

Anna said...

You've really made me want to read this author. I've been long wanting to read Speak, and I'm adding this to my to-read list as well.

Kathleen said...

I loved Speak so much that I would be willing to try anything by this author. Your review makes me think this is another one that I would enjoy by her.

Okie said...

I really enjoyed Chains and keep hoping to convince my 11 year old to read it as well. Hoping to read Forge this year.

Thanks for the review. :)