Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Forge - Laurie Halse Anderson

Summary:  Would you risk everything to be free?

The young soldiers at Valley Forge are suffering from hunger, cold, and the threat of the British army.  Their newly forged bonds of friendship might be enough to help them survive.  But the chains of Curzon's past threaten to shackle him again.

Surrounded by the fires of ignorance, mistrust, and greed, Curzon can't risk sharing his deadly secrets with anyone.  Does he have the mettle to hold on to his freedom?  To claim his rightful place as an American?  Is he strong enough to find the answer to the hardest question of all: Is Isabel still alive?

Acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson continues the thrilling adventure started in her bestselling, award-winning novel Chains.  Ride along on a gallop that will take you from battling the British at Saratoga to fighting the elements at Valley Forge to rebelling against merciless tyranny.  Discover what the fight for freedom was really all about.  (Summary from jacket cover and image from http://bonniesbooks.blogspot.com)

My Review:  When I first started Forge, I kept thinking that it was a bit slow and that I didn't get introduced to the main character very well.  I realized after reading three-fourths of the book, that it is a sequel.  Chains comes first.  Obviously you're expected to come into the story knowing the protagonist.  I didn't want to stop reading to start the first in the series, so I'm missing some of the back story but once I was a third of the way through I was hooked.  Reading Forge was the best way to make history come alive for me.  I never had a love of social studies growing up; I just couldn't get myself interested in all the dates and places that I was supposed to memorize.  It wasn't until I became an adult that I realized how fascinating it is. 

Forge was very informative and I feel like I understand the Revolutionary War a lot better after reading it.  I didn't know much about it besides the little I can remember from elementary school.  I had no idea that slaves fought in the war and that many of their owners made a deal of freedom at the end of the war if they fought in the army.  I am going to highly recommend this book to all my students and especially to the social studies teachers at my middle school.  I think I would have retained more information if I had learned about the war in this format.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Sum it up:  Gritty on a YA level, it opens eyes to what conditions were like for soldiers fighting for our freedom and then takes it a step further by seeing it all through the eyes of a slave.

2 comments:

Tribute Books said...

I love historical fiction written for children and young adults. Thanks for sharing this one about Valley Forge. Another Pennsylvania based title, I'd like to recommend is Call Me Kate: Meeting the Molly Maguires by Molly Roe that features the coal mining towns in the northeastern part of the state during the Civil War.

MindySue said...

Kari liked that one too http://readingforsanity.blogspot.com/2010/10/call-me-kate-molly-roe.html

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