Freedom Stone

Jeffrey Kluger, Philomel, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-399-25214-3
In a quiet story that builds steam as it unfolds, 14-year-old slave Lillie undertakes incredible risks and defies time itself to save her six-year-old brother, Plato, from being sold at auction at Greenfog plantation, the only home they've ever known. By all accounts, Lillie, Plato, and their mother should be free, since her father fought for the Confederacy and died at Vicksburg, just four months earlier. However, when her deceased father is accused of having stolen money from another plantation, their freedom is denied, leaving Lillie and Plato in danger of being sold. Spirited, strong-willed Lillie and Bett, a wise and gentle slave who can bend time through her baking, set out to prove Lillie's father's innocence and save her family. Kluger (Nacky Patcher and the Curse of the Dry-Land Boats) adeptly mixes drama, fantasy, romance, and history, while creating characters so determined to survive that readers can't help being drawn into their plights. In a climax that breaks with reality but that will keep readers hungry to learn the outcome, Kluger proves his storytelling prowess. Ages 9–up. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/29/2010
Release date: 01/01/2011
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