Stars in my eyes!

I’m back home and a wee bit tired, but I made great progress on my “Desert Island Down-and-Dirty Draft”. Being able to stay inside the story with no interruptions is perhaps the greatest luxury a writer can have.

The cherry on top of this ice-cream-sundae-mood was the news waiting for me at home…

The first reviews for my historical novel, CHAINS, have appeared, graced with beautiful stars!!!

Publishers Weekly says:

“Pursuing similar themes as M.T. Anderson’s Octavian Nothing, this gripping novel offers readers a startlingly provocative view of the Revolutionary War. Isabel Finch, the narrator, and her five-year-old sister, Ruth, are to be freed from slavery upon the death of their mistress in Rhode Island, but the mistress’s unscrupulous heir easily persuades the local pastor to dispense with reading the will. Before long Isabel and Ruth are in New York City, the property of a Loyalist couple, whose abusiveness inspires Isabel to a dangerous course: she steals into the Patriot army camp to trade a crucial Loyalist secret in exchange for passage to Rhode Island for herself and Ruth. But not only does the Patriot colonel fail to honor his promise, he personally hands her over to her Loyalist mistress when she runs away, to face disastrous consequences. Anderson (Speak; Fever 1793) packs so much detail into her evocation of wartime New York City that readers will see the turmoil and confusion of the times, and her solidly researched exploration of British and Patriot treatment of slaves during a war for freedom is nuanced and evenhanded, presented in service of a fast-moving, emotionally involving plot. Ages 10–up. (Oct.)”

Kirkus says:

““ ‘Freedom and liberty’ has many meanings,” but enslaved Isabel knows that while Loyalists and Patriots battle for their own versions of freedom, she is “chained between two nations” that uphold slavery. She wonders, “If an entire nation could seek its freedom, why not a girl?” Anderson brilliantly recreates New York City in the summer of 1776, viewed through the eyes of a remarkable heroine. Taught to read by her previous owner, Isabel knows the Bible and has memorized poetry, and her eloquent first-person voice portrays her life as a slave even as she spies for the rebels, covertly delivers food to Bridewell Prison and plots her own escape. Readers will care deeply about Isabel and may feel frustrated by the abrupt ending to the novel, clearly poised for a sequel or two. While waiting, they can enjoy M.T. Anderson’s The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation: Volume II, The Kingdom on the Waves, another superb take on the subject. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 10 & up)”

I am incapable of speech right now. I am out of breath from running around the house screaming “Yes! Yes!” and imitating Brandi Chastain after she shot the game-winning penalty kick over China in the Women’s World Cup championship soccer game in 1999. (see photo below)

I worked really, really hard on this book. It feels delicious to get these pats on the back.

28 Replies to “Stars in my eyes!”


    Laurie, They are correct– you very much capture the time as well as being particularly bril at characterization. I look forward to reading it! Brava!

  2. Wow — I was wondering when the reviews would hit. That is awesome. What a nice piece of news to lift your wings as you glide toward San Antonio.

  3. As good as these reviews are, I truly think that CHAINS is better. The historical world you build is both rich and accessible to teens, which is a remarkable feat. This book will be read for generations.

  4. Congratulations! I’m not surprised about the stars – CHAINS is fantastic in every way. I loved it and although I read it weeks and weeks ago, I still remember Isabel and her story vividly. Go YOU! xoxo

  5. congrats! i love that you used the name isabel….that is my very favorite girl’s name….if i ever have a daughter, i am pretty sure that’s what i will name her.

    i’m gonna check this out and see if i can use it in any of my classes, or at least convince my fellow teachers to read it!

  6. Can’t wait!

    I can’t wait for Chains to come out. Its so exciting to know you have a new book coming out. I really hope that you come to California on your book tour for Chains. One of my dreams is to meet you. You’re my favorite writer in the whole world.

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