Set Me Free by Ann Clare LeZotte

            Set Me Free by Ann Clare LeZotte, Scholastic, 2021. 9781338742497 

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Format: Paperback ARC

Genre: Historical fiction

What did you like about the book? Fourteen-year-old Mary lives on Martha’s Vineyard in the early 1800s.  Like many of the population who live there at this time, she is deaf; the deaf and the hearing communicate through what was known as MVSL (Martha’s Vineyard Sign Language). When Mary is contacted to assist a young deaf girl near Waltham, Mass., she decides to go.  Her goal is to be a teacher.  What she finds is an 8-year-old girl who is chained to her bed, locked in her room, fed little and physically abused by the butler in charge.  It is winter and the regular residents are away.  This may have shocked me even more than it must have shocked and upset Mary. The girl does not even have a name.  Mary knows she must get the girl out of there and find out where she belongs.  This is a harrowing, painful story that puts the reader on the edge of their seat.  The story is gripping.

Anything you did not like about the book?  I wish I had read Show Me a Sign, this book’s predecessor, first, which although this story can stand on its own, the background information on Mary would have made this story even more poignant.

To whom would you recommend this book? Those who read Show Me a Sign will welcome this continuing story of Mary.  This could be paired with The Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries and elementary school libraries

Where would you shelve it?  J and YA fiction

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  It is a very important story, well-told, so I would put it in a TBR stack.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Editor, Youth Services Book Review

Date of Review: October 17, 2021

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