Isabel, a 13-year-old slave, is virtually invisible in her home in revolutionary-era New York. So when she is approached by rebels who want to help her and her five-year-old sister Ruth to freedom, she agrees.
As Isabel takes breaks from her painfully mundane domestic duties to listen at doors and eavesdrop on her fiercely loyalist masters — the not-so-subtly named Locktons — she learns that an entire country is fighting for independence and is inspired to seek her own.
Including an extensive reference section that opens the door to discussions of the time period and what life would have been like for Isabel and Ruth, Halse’s exploration of power and freedom in the midst of the struggle of a developing nation is unmissable.
Laurie Halse Anderson was born in Potsdam, a cold place in Northern New York State. Since 1993, Laurie had been researching and constantly rewriting Fever 1793 (originally titled Bitter Drops — don’t ask). She took a break and wrote Speak (pub. 1999), which turned out to be a great idea. Speak won award after award — it was a National Book Award Finalist, a Printz Honor book, a Booklist “Top10 First Novels of 1999” and many more. When not writing or hanging out with her family, you can find her training for marathons, hiking in the mountains, or trying to coax tomatoes out of the rocky soil in her backyard.