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The Freedom Maze

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Overview

"Multilayered, compassionate, and thought-provoking." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Thirteen-year-old Sophie isn’t happy about spending the summer of 1960 at her grandmother’s old house in the bayou. Bored and lonely, she can’t resist exploring the house’s maze, or making an impulsive wish for a fantasy-book adventure with herself as the heroine. What she gets instead is a real adventure: a trip back in time to 1860 and the race-haunted world of her family’s Louisiana sugar ...

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The Freedom Maze

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Overview

"Multilayered, compassionate, and thought-provoking." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Thirteen-year-old Sophie isn’t happy about spending the summer of 1960 at her grandmother’s old house in the bayou. Bored and lonely, she can’t resist exploring the house’s maze, or making an impulsive wish for a fantasy-book adventure with herself as the heroine. What she gets instead is a real adventure: a trip back in time to 1860 and the race-haunted world of her family’s Louisiana sugar plantation. Here, President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation is still two years in the future and passage of the Thirteenth Amendment is almost four years away. And here, Sophie is mistaken, by her own ancestors, for a slave.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Sherman has created a finely honed work of art, a novel that deals eloquently with complex and intersecting issues of race, womanhood, class and age. In transporting the reader so fully into another time, The Freedom Maze becomes timeless. This is true magic.
—Alaya Dawn Johnson, author of The Summer Prince

A subtle, nuanced, uncomfortable and brave young adult novel about racism and time-travel.
—Cory Doctorow

Children's Literature - Paula McMillen
It is 1960 in the deep South and thirteen-year-old Sophie Martineau is being shipped off from her home in New Orleans to stay with her Aunt Enid and grandmother Fairchild in the Louisiana bayou country. She is not happy about this exile and it only adds to the discord with her mom. Sophie’s dad has recently left the family and, of course, Sophie blames herself for not being more as her mother wishes her to be—pretty and ladylike. When Sophie decides to explore the overgrown garden maze on the old plantation property she meets a magical being that grants Sophie’s wish for adventure in an unexpected way. Sophie is transported back in time 100 years—as events build toward the Civil War— and, because of her frizzy hair and suntanned skin, is assumed to be a slave child, the result of a dalliance by one of the plantation’s wayward sons. She learns first-hand how it is to be at the mercy of spoiled white people’s whims, and work assumes new definition on a sugar cane plantation. She fears she will never be able to go home and has to watch her every word so she does not say anything about her former life, which might just get her labeled as crazy or uppity, either of which could bring down harsh punishment. When she interferes in the impending rape of Antigua, the older sister in her adoptive black family, trouble falls on her shoulders in earnest, and the eventual outcome is that she must help the young woman escape from the plantation. In the process, Sophie is unceremoniously dumped back into her life in 1960—six months later for her, but only hours later for her family—and it is a little hard to explain her growth spurt and hardened muscles. She starts delving into family history, to the bewilderment of her aunt and the delight of her grandmother, eventually finding an archive of letters at the local museum that lets her know Antigua escaped safely to New York. When her mother comes to visit and refuses to let her accept an invitation from Sophie’s father and his new wife to visit New York City, Sophie finally stands up to her mother’s emotional bullying. The book has been well researched and engagingly written. Sophie’s time as a slave will create both an educational and emotional experience for readers. This would be a wonderful adjunct read for discussions about this period in history and about the institution of slavery more generally. Excellent addition for any middle school or public library Reviewer: Paula McMillen, Ph.D.; Ages 10 to 15.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763669751
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 1/7/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 944,754
  • Age range: 10 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Delia Sherman was born in Japan and raised in New York City but spent vacations with relatives in Texas, Louisiana, and South Carolina. Her work has appeared most recently in the young adult anthologies The Beastly Bride: Tales of the Animal People; Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories; and Teeth: Vampire Tales. Her novels for younger readers include Changeling and The Magic Mirror of the Mermaid Queen. She lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2012

    Amazing!

    This book is absolutely wonderful. Fascinating and engrossing, it tells the story of Sophie, who gets transported from the 1960s deep South to the 1880s where her tan leads her to be taken for a slave. Somehow Delia happens to catch every level of the story from Sophie's personal growth to each area of slave life and what it does to the individuals, not just the slaves, showing how it corrupts the psyches of the owners and the other whites who work there.

    By the end of the book, Sophie has grown stronger and found what freedom really means.

    It's for ALL ages.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 19, 2011

    Riveting and fearless

    This is a riveting, fearless, and masterful novel. And I loved its heroine, Sophie, completely. -Nancy Werlin

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2014

    A MUST READ

    This is must read for everyone. It gives a very real view of slavery and the South. If you enjoyed 12 Years a Slave you should read this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews

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