Jem has escaped from slavery. Now it’s up to him to decide what he believes, who he trusts, and what freedom really means.
In 1739, England and Spain are on the verge of war and former slaves are arriving at Fort Mose in St. Augustine, where the Spanish will give them their freedom in exchange for their loyalty. Fourteen-year-old Jem has escaped a cruel master but is now in the custody of Phaedra, a difficult and angry woman. He thought he was free, he thought he was a man, but Phaedra takes every opportunity to remind him that he’s still a child. As the threat of war becomes more real, Jem starts to understand the meaning of freedom.
Krista Russell’s action-packed historical adventure, provides readers with a chance learn, along with Jem, the complex connections that make a community and the significance of true freedom.
“Readers will be immersed in the suspenseful intrigue and Jem’s battle for freedom.” ―School Library Journal
“A moving portrayal of a young teen yearning for a chance to be a hero.” ―Booklist
“Russell illuminates a little-known piece of American history in this well-researched novel for middle-grade readers… The unfamiliar but engrossing topic and fast-paced action will keep readers interested…a welcome and well-written work of history.” ―Kirkus Reviews
Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award ―Parents’ Choice Foundation, 2013
Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading List (Starred, Middle School / Junior High) ―Kansas National Education Association, 2014
AR Level: 4.6
Themes: Colonial History, Community, Freedom, Loyalty, Slavery
BISAC 1: JUV016120 JUVENILE FICTION / Historical / United States / Colonial & Revolutionary Periods
BISAC 2: JUV011010 JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / United States / African American
BISAC 3: JUV001000 JUVENILE FICTION / Action & Adventure / General