Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

Is there anything Laurie Halse Anderson can't write? I am so impressed by the variety of what she produces. As an avid follower of her blog, I am always struck by how down to earth she is (online as well as in person). Truly, I can't think of a better person to win all of the recognition she has. I always tell my 8th graders that every one of them should read Speak before they go to high school, boys and girls alike. It seems odd that I read the ARC of Wintergirls before I even read Chains, but I managed to make short work of it. Isabel is a slave who is sold to a cruel Tory couple (the Lockharts) in 1776 New York where the Revolution is in full swing. She endures the hardships of working for the Lockharts while losing her sister ("sold" the Madam tells her). Isabel finds herself torn between the two sides of the Revolution, not knowing who to support. In the meantime, she becomes a messenger runner for the Patriots. The book ends as she is finally breaking away from her evil owners and I can't wait for FORGE, which is the next promised continuation.

Not only is the novel beautifully written with great characters (I love Mr. Lockhart's ailing aunt who is kind to Isabel)but the research is incredible. Each chapter starts with a primary source quote pertinent to the rest of the chapter. This goes right to the top of my list for historical fiction. Anderson has also started a foray into picture books, which I can't wait to get my hands on!

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