Monday, 23 September 2013

Review: 'The Other Side of Free' by Krista Russell

The Other Side of Free, by Krista Russell, 2013, Peachtree, $16.95, hardbound, 251 pages. Category/Genre: adventure. Cover: not bad. Where we got it: publisher. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million. 

Charles Town, 1739: 13-year-old slave Jem lives with his adoptive Aunt Winnie, the town's most powerful conjure woman. One night, Aunt Winnie wakes Jem and sends him away with a stranger named Phaedra to go to Fort Mose in Spanish Florida. There they will no longer be slaves, but will pledge allegiance to the Spanish and promise to fight the English army for them.

But not Jem; Phaedra says he's too young to fight. There are other escaped slaves in Fort Mose, too, such as Big Sunday, whose half-Indian son Domingo visits them sometimes. 

There's also Reynard, a French trader who befriends Jem and trades with him for the wooden whistles Jem carves. Jem also has another friend: Omen, the owl he saves from a murder of crows. 

Then new slaves come, with news from Charles Town: a rebellion has started, and some white women and children were killed. The English will track down the rebels at any cost, and have put a heavy price on the head of any rebel returned to Charles Town. 

Jem aches to join the Spanish militia and be seen as the man he thinks he's become. But Jem has a lot of growing to do yet, even though he doesn't know it. He learns along the way, making mistakes as he goes, and finally begins to understand something about the people around him. 

This is an unusual coming-of-age story told from a historical point of view. 

Written for ages 10-14. 

If you like this one, try: Suggestions? 

Don't forget to check out the other sites on the tour!

Kid Lit Reviews (

No comments:

Post a Comment