Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews is no stranger to the Cybils, and this year she's a round I judge for the Middle Grade Fiction category. Her book review blog has been going for over three years, looking at children's, MG, YA, and adult books and hosting numerous fun reading challenges as well as author interviews.

Chains Becky reviewed one of our MG fiction nominees that was published in late 2008–too late for the 2008 Cybils contest, but eligible this year. That book is Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson, a historical novel about Isabel and Ruth, two slaves freed in their recently deceased master's will. However, their master's nephew ignores the decree of freedom and sells them to an unscrupulous Loyalist family in New York City. Nevertheless, Isabel, the book's narrator, still dreams of freedom. Says Becky:

Set in New York City during circa 1776-1777, the story is vibrant and heartbreaking. It's a story rich in detail and emotional and powerful in nature. Isobel's story–her struggles–resonates so deeply that I think this one is a must-read.

Read the full review here.