Anderson, Laurie Halse. Ashes (Seeds of America #3)
October 4th 2016 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Isabel and Curzon have left South Carolina during the Revolutionary War in order to find Isabel's sister Ruth and to try to not be captured by slavers or be involved in too much of the war. Eventually, they locate Ruth, who has had seizures and is somewhat developmentally delayed. This led to her being sold, but she has ended up in the care of an elderly couple who have lost their own children. The couple tell Ruth she must go with Isabel and do what she says, because Ruth doesn't want to leave, even though at 12 she is the object of inappropriate interest from an overseer. Along with Aberdeen, the group takes off and makes their way to Virginia. Isabel is able to work along the way, taking in laundry or working in taverns. In Williamsburg, the group spends some time ferrying laundry back and forth while waiting to see how the war will progress. Eventually, Curzon goes off to fight, Isabel realizes she loves him, and along with Ruth (and Aberdeen, who loves her) they must all decide what to do as the war is coming to a close.
Strengths: This is very well researched, and offers interesting information on the plight of people brought over to America as slaves around the time of the Revolutionary War. There are lots of good notes at the back, and the details of every day survival are very vivid. This reminded me strongly of Forbes' Johnny Tremain (1943), which I know is a favorite of many American History teachers.
Weaknesses: This is very long for middle grade (272 pages), and moves very slowly. There are a lot more descriptions of doing laundry and taking care of the wounded than of any adventures or action.
What I really think: Chains (2008) has circulated only to members of the Battle of the Books team, and Forge (2010) has not been checked out in three years. For now, I will pass on purchasing for my library.
Cherry, Kathleen. Everyday Hero.
March 15th 2016 by Orca Book Publishers
Copy from Cuyahoga County Public Library
Nominated for the Cybils by