Originally published in: 2016
What it’s about: A family who escaped slavery and their journey to join the colony of maroons in the middle of Virginia’s Great Dismal Swamp to live freely.
What made me pick it up: A coworker came down to tell me she was working on her book talk for it and I realized I had read the author’s previous work (Serafina’s Promise) and love a novel in verse so I took it from her when she offered and checked it out.
My favorite things: This book is powerful. The verse nature of the writing makes it go very quickly. The first-person narration helps bring to life the experience of slavery for Grace. As someone who once was a nine-year-old who had trouble keeping her thoughts in her head and not saying whatever she thought, it really brought home how that once had much worse consequences. I could relate to all of Grace’s emotions — especially guilt. Even though you are fairly certain of the outcome, it’s still an edge-of-your-seat read as Grace and her family flee for their lives.
Who it’s great for: Anyone who wants to learn more about a lesser known group of runaway slaves/slave settlement. Readers who want an emotional portrayal of the slavery and runaway experience.