By: Beach Lane Books
In 1776, young Sophia Calderwood witnesses the execution of Nathan Hale in New York City, which is newly occupied by the British army. Sophia is horrified by the event and resolves to do all she can to help the American cause. Recruited as a spy, she becomes a maid in the home of General Clinton, the supreme commander of the British forces in America. Through her work she becomes aware that someone in the American army might be switching sides, and she uncovers a plot that will grievously damage the Americans if it succeeds. But the identity of the would-be traitor is so shocking that no one believes her, and so Sophia decides to stop the treacherous plot herself, at great personal peril: She’s young, she’s a girl, and she’s running out of time. And if she fails, she’s facing an execution of her own.
Master storyteller Avi shows exactly how personal politics can be in this riveting novel that is rich in historical detail and rife with action.
Another book on the war between the Britons and the Americans. In this book we have a family, a son who has joined the fight for freedom from the Brits and a young girl who also supports the cause but is unable to do much of anything because girls and women weren’t considered capable of doing much.
Upon returning from their hideaway their home, still intact and unharmed by the large fire that took out most of New York, is taken over by the British military. The family was forced to lodge soldiers because of the shortage of accommodations. The Calderwoods were initially blessed with the presence of John André who managed to win 12-year-old Sophia’s attention. André was told by Sophia that she was an only child so when her brother was spotted being marched through the streets on his way to a prison, André although you could tell was smitten for Sophia as she was for him, he wound opting for a transfer.
Much to the family’s disappointment André chose not to help the family at having their son returned because of his reputation. That moment forward, Sophia vowed to avenge her brother and all the fallen of this war. She didn’t know how or when, but she knew she was going to do something .
This is a really quick story with a lot of details that make the story even more realistic. You quickly fall in love with this young female protagonist who does plenty of things that would make any early feminist proud. She starts working as a printer to help earn more money for her family since her father was shot and his arm was practically useless. She is later convinced to become a spy in a large New York house as a cleaning lady. Delivering news and messages until her connection is cut as he escapes when things started to get a little too heated and uncertain. Months after Mr. Townsend disappears great news starts coming up and Sophia has nobody to tell. What does she do? Where does she go?
In the end we learn about Benedict Arnold, which I didn’t understand the phrase until I started to understand who this man was and what he’d done. We learn about André and his feelings of years past. We also learn about Sophia, and although this book ends with her being the age of 15, we get a real sense of some kind of maturity.
I won’t say grab your Kleenex, but make sure to have a free-hand as you’ll be flipping pages quickly.