I have wanted to read this book since I first saw it appear on Halse Anderson's blog (see the Mad Woman in the Forest link further down...). The idea was captivating to me and I thought it would be a good book to recommend to my students when we study black literature and authors.
I had no idea that it would be so completely captivating.
This is the story of a young slave girl, Isabel, who was promised that on the death of her master, she and her sister would be free. Then she was completely betrayed by the greed of her dead master's nephew and sold to a cruel owner in New York whose allegiances lie with the Tory's in 1776. She is beaten and mistreated, but demonstrates what is meagerly described as an impressive will and capability.
I fell in love with Isabel. She is a very genuine character - not one who is at all filled with the aspirations to end the war one way or another or having lofty ideals to change the hearts of the slave owners and allow them to see the folly of their ways. Just as the main character in Speak becomes very real, Isabel is extraordinarily real. It is mentioned that there is another book after this one, to continue the story of Isabel so I'm not sure if it is a series or just a pair of books, but I will be reading it as quickly as I can when it comes out. One thing is for certain, however, and that is that Laurie Halse Anderson is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, YA or otherwise.