Chains

A Beautifully Written Historical Fiction

Info about Chains

Written by: Laurie Halse Anderson

Published by: Simon & Schuster

ISBN: 978-1-4169-0585-1

Genre: Historical Fiction

Nominated Award:


  • IRA Teacher's Choice booklist for 2009
  • Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Winter 2009 Kids' List
  • 2008 Booklist's Editors Choice-Book for Youth
  • 2008 National Book Award Finalist
  • 2009 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction
  • 2009 Top 10 Black History Books for Youth
  • 2009 Notable Children's Book
  • Rebecca Caudill Young Reader's Book Award Nominee (2011)
  • Cybils Award for Middle Grade Fiction (2009)
  • Carnegie Medal Nominee (2010)

Review

Chains is about a girl named Isabel and her sister Ruth that are sold to a couple in New York after their master died. The Madam of the couple is horrible and sells Ruth. Isabel meets a slave named Curzon that is a slave of a Patriot. He convinces Isabel to help the Patriots and Isabel falls down a rabbit hole of troubles. This book is amazing! Laurie Halse Anderson wrote about a topic that isn't well know and has been neglected . Isabel's life wasn't close to a comparison of my life but somehow Anderson made me feel as though I was there with her. I also loved how Anderson compared Isabel's feelings of shock and anger to bees buzzing in her head. It was a metaphor that was continuously repeated and gave a agreeableness towards Isabel. At times I wanted to jump into the book and hurt Madam because I was that close toward Isabel.


I also loved how Anderson made Isabel seem stuck. Isabel was constantly being used by Loyalist and Patriots. To her they were all the same because in the end it didn't matter who won because she would never be freed. Not many people see that while the Revolutionary war was happening everything that Patriots said about liberty contradicted their actions because they looked at slaves and said they can't be free. Anderson knew about how people were uninformed about it and wrote about it to educate people about it. I didn't like how mysterious Curzon was in the book. He was described as more as a indentured servant rather than a slave. The way he dressed and his attitude as well as his defiance made him seem higher up. When he was later stuck in prison, that was when it was more clearly stated that he was a slave. I give this book a 4.6 out of 5 stars and I recommend it to anyone who loves historical fiction novels.

Further Explorations

  • Here's a link for an article on Sudan facial scarification. It resembles what Isabel was talking about her dad having scars are his face to symbolize manhood.
  • Here's a link for a pass that was used in Virginia by a slave to travel without his master.
  • Here's a link with a picture and article about the statue of King George the 3rd being pulled down after the Declaration of Independence was read.

  • Here's a link with a picture and article about the Great Fire in New York that Isabel almost died in.

  • Here's a link about the history of hanging like the hanging Isabel witnessed.

Partner Titles

Works Cited

Anderson, Taylor W. "Sudan Facial Scarification." Sudanation. N.p., 03 May 2011. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.


Berman, Matt. "Chains - Book Review." Chains Book Review. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.


"CHAINS by Laurie Halse Anderson | Kirkus Reviews." Kirkus Reviews. N.p., 1 Sept. 2008. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.


"Chains." Mad Woman in the Forest. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.


"Chains." Mad Woman In the Forest. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.


"Chains (Seeds of America, #1)." Goodreads. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.


Duff, Charles. "The 'Art' of Hanging." The History of Hanging. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.


""I Will Be Heard!" Abolitionism in America." "I Will Be Heard!" Abolitionism in America. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.


"My Brother Sam Is Dead: Book Project." Welcome to Mrs. Gum's Virtual Classroom. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.


"NYCdata: The Great Fire of 1776." NYCdata: The Great Fire of 1776. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.


"Pulling Down the Statue of George III." Pulling Down the Statue of George III. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.


"Sharon M. Draper." Simon & Schuster. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.



Turlington, Rainey. "Interview with Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Author of Jefferson's Sons." Team Turlington. N.p., 20 Dec. 2012. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.