In the story of the slave girl
Isabel's struggles to claim the freedom bequeathed her,
and unjustly denied, Laurie Halse Anderson has created
not only an adventure story with a resourceful and intelligent
heroine, but also a rich vision of Revolutionary Manhattan,
inhabited by imperfect human beings, their judgments
and choices impaired by fear, shaped by necessity and
greed. In a deftly suggested comparison, Isabel suffers,
and then endures, the same long odds and the same personal
losses as the nation claiming its own independence while
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laurie Halse Anderson is the
author of numerous books for children and teens. Her
highly acclaimed novels include Speak, which
was a National Book Award finalist, Printz Honor Book,
and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. Her novel Fever
1793 was named one of New York Public Library's
100 Best Books of 2000, was selected as an ABA Pick
of the Lists title, and has won more than a dozen state
awards. Her novel, Twisted, was a New York
Times bestseller. Laurie lives in Mexico, New York.
ABOUT THE BOOK (from
As the Revolutionary War begins,
thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight...for freedom.
Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she
and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become
the property of a malicious New York City couple, the
Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution
and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets
Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages
her to spy on her owners, who know details of British
plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when
the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her
loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her
From acclaimed author Laurie
Halse Anderson comes this compelling, impeccably researched
novel that shows the lengths we can go to cast off our
chains, both physical and spiritual.
stood across the street from the Bridewell Prison and
Don’t do this. Don’t
All around the Common folks
went on their business, soldiers rubbing the cold out
of their fingers, women wrapped in long cloaks and thick
shawls. They walked over the ground where the gallows
had been built last summer, where they hung the traitor
Hickey. Back in August the Patriots had torn it down
to use the wood for the barricades. The British had
built their own hangman’s platform at the opposite
end of the Common. It could kill three people at a time.
The ashes in my soul stirred.
Don’t do this.
Men stood at the windows of
the prison calling out to those who passed by. Few folk
looked in their direction, pretending that the noise
came from the throats of the crows circling overhead.
Go back. ‘Tis not
The whispers in my brainpan
grew louder as I crossed the street.
Madam will beat you bloody,
he’s not your concern, it’s not your place.
Go back, go back before it’s too late.
The crows cawed and wheeled
and beat their shiny black wings against the wind-whipped
clouds. They saw everything. I stopped in front of the
iron-studded oak door and frowned.
He freed me from the stocks.
He is my friend. My only friend.
With that, the ashes settled
and shushed. My arm lifted light as a feather and pounded
the door knocker.