Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , San Francisco, CA
Freedom is a big word, especially in Isabel Gardener’s life. The Revolutionary War has just begun when Isabel, a thirteen-year-old African American slave, and her little sister Ruth, are sold to a mean and demanding couple living in New York. But none of this was supposed to happen! Isabel and Ruth were on their way to being free of slavery when the Locktons, a rich and fussy couple secretly siding with the British, decided to buy them.

While enduring her time as a slave in New York, Isabel befriends Curzon, a slave working for a Patriot. Much to her behest, Isabel completes Curzon’s task: she listens in on the secret meetings that Master Lockton holds with his friends regarding the British, and risks her life by delivering the tips to the band of Patriots nearby. After an event that jeopardizes Ruth’s well being, Isabel must do all that she can to find freedom for both herself and her little sister, even if it means facing numerous moments of peril. Even in the most devastating moments of Chains, Laurie Halse Anderson leaves the reader feeling hopeful that things will turn out all right.

Anderson creates a rich plot filled with moments of sorrow, grief, deception and, most importantly, hope. The passionate way in which she tells the story blew me away and I realized that books written with that much depth are definitely few and far between. I could visualize every one on the emotions felt by the characters and I felt like I was there to witness them. I especially loved how the relationships between the characters are unique. While I was reading the book, there were times when I felt sad and I realized how harsh the reality of slavery was. There were also instances when I was amazed at how hopeful the slaves could be. One part in particular was when Isabel narrated, “ ‘Yes ma’am,’ I mumbled, my hands doing the work of a slave, my mind racing free.” (p. 174). That point in the book moved me because Isabel was feeling restricted by the aspect of slavery yet she was still able to have a free state of mind; she wasn’t going to give up hope. I would recommend this book to all young adults who are willing to read a truly amazing novel.





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BellaEzrebetFang This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 1, 2009 at 7:21 am
Thank you for this article. I love Laurie Halse Anderson's work and I'm glad to know she's maintaining her amazing standards on her books. I think I'm definitely looking forward to reading this one. :]
 
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