Horn Book Magazine reviewed Chains in their 2008 November/December issue:
"Despite protests that her former owner’s will had freed them, Isabel Finch and her five-year-old sister Ruth are sold and shipped from Newport, Rhode Island, to New York City in May 1776. Their new owners are fierce Loyalists, and one young African American rebel sees Isabel as a potential spy: “You are a slave, not a person. They’ll say things in front of you they won’t say in front of the white servants. ’Cause you don’t count.” At first, Isabel isn’t keen to help: “I’m just fighting for me and Ruth. You can keep your rebellion.” But when she overhears her master’s scheme to kill George Washington, Isabel reports it to a Patriot colonel. The rebels foil the plot; Isabel, however, is forgotten. Finally, Isabel realizes that it’s up to her—and her alone—to find freedom. Anderson’s novel is remarkable for its strong sense of time and place and for its nuanced portrait of slavery and of New York City during the Revolutionary War. A detailed author’s note separates fact from historical fiction." - TANYA D. AUGER
For more information:
- Scott O'Dell Award
- Award (2009) Press Release
- Laurie Halse Anderson's web site
- Publisher's Weekly: Chains Wins Scott O'Dell Award
- School Library Journal: Chains Wins Scott O'Dell Award
I haven't read Chains, I did read and enjoy Andersons previous novel Twisted, but am pleased to report it is part of the library's juvenile collection. It's nice this was announced before the mother ship awards on Monday (it's not lost in the hoopla).
Announcements of ALA's Youth Media Awards are pending this weekend's midwinter meetings in Denver.