Loyalty by Avi

Loyalty by Avi, Clarion Books, 2022.  9780358248071 

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? Thirteen-year-old Noah lives with his clergyman father, mother and two sisters, one older, one younger, in Tullbury, Mass. in 1774.  His father is a Loyalist, meaning he believes in the sovereignty of England as the ruler of the thirteen American colonies.  When the Sons of Liberty (those who desire the colonies to be independent of England) drag his father from the house, tar and feather him, the remaining family knows they must escape after the father dies.  They find refuge with an uncle in Boston.  Noah, given a job at a local tavern, is recruited by the English to spy on the rebels.  Here he meets Jolla, a young free Black man, his boss, with whom he becomes friends. The English military presence grows larger and stronger as the rebels also increase their desire for freedom.  This is an enlightening insider’s first-person’s account of the happenings in Boston during 1774 and 1775.

Anything you did not like about the book?  The relationship between Jolla and Noah felt somewhat contrived.  Jolla accepted Noah to an extraordinary degree.

To whom would you recommend this book? Those searching for an in-depth accounting of the beginnings of the Revolutionary War seldom, if ever, revealed in a fictional easily-accessible format would welcome this book.  Though lengthy, teachers might be able to incorporate it into lesson plans.

Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries

Where would you shelve it?  J Fiction

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Really interesting and informative but not at the top of a TBR pile

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

Date of Review:  February 14, 2022

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