Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

My name is Lauren Herbert and I am a graduate student at Nazareth College. I've been a reader since I was little-with my best memories being my mom yelling at me to stop reading and go to bed. I'm sure some of you can relate to this. There's something about a really good book that gets even better when the house is silent at night. It almost feels like the characters are right there with you. One of those really good books to read under the covers with a flashlight is Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson.

Originally, I chose this book because I heard such wonderful things about it. After buying Chains and reading it, I completely understood why everyone loved it! Laurie Halse Anderson paints a picture of slavery and freedom through the eyes of a young girl, Isabel, which makes the story not only heart-wrenching, but also believable and compelling. If you’re concerned about this being “another book about slavery,” don’t be! Chains is much more about Isabel’s search for courage, something we’ve all needed to find at some point in our lives.

Most importantly, Chains makes you wonder:

What would it be like to count down the days until freedom, only to be told that day would never come?
How would it feel to be ripped apart from your little sister, beaten, burned, and humiliated?
What would be harder: doing what you know is right or keeping quiet to stay alive?

Isabel knows these answers.

Isabel and her sister, Ruth, are supposed to be free. At least, that's what the woman they belonged to put in her will. Unfortunately, what dead people say means nothing to the living, especially when it dictates what slaves are allowed to do. Although Isabel and Ruth are so close to freedom they can taste it, they find themselves ripped from any promises made to live with their new owners-the Locktons.

As wealthy Loyalists living during the American Revolution, the Locktons keep their enemies close: pretending to be Patriots whenever the opportunity presents itself. Isabel is confused by this and finds the Locktons to be horrible people. She soon gives in to aiding the other side by feeding secret Loyalist information to her new friend, Curzon, who is a direct line to the Patriot troops.

Torn between her strong head and heavy heart, Isabel faces the challenges not only of a slave, but also as someone who wants to do what’s right.

When her sister suddenly disappears, Isabel stops caring about anyone else and focuses only on one thing: freedom. Follow her story. Fall in love with her determination. Believe the best things happen to good people...or do they?

-If you just finished the last book on your shelf and haven't a clue where to go next...find this book.
-If you love adventure, secrets, and deception...find this book.
-If history startles you, but also amazes you...find this book.

As you read, you will feel Isabel's pain, sadness, and hopelessness, but also her strength, joy, and unconditional hope. Follow Isabel's story just as she voyages “to the stars” (p. 104).

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