Unbound by Ann E. Burg


From the award-winning author of All the Broken Pieces and Serafina's Promise comes a new novel-in-verse that is a gripping, transcendent story about a little-known piece of slave history. The day Grace is called from the slave cabins to work in the Big House, Mama makes her promise to keep her eyes down. Uncle Jim warns her to keep her thoughts tucked private in her mind or they could bring a whole lot of trouble and pain.But the more Grace sees...

Details Unbound

Release DateSep 26th, 2016
PublisherScholastic Press
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Poetry, Childrens, Middle Grade

Reviews Unbound

  • Starjustin
    Unbound: A Novel in Verse depicts the life of a 9 year old girl, born into slavery. In this fictional novel, the reader follows Grace and her family through trials and tribulations they must endure on the road to freedom. A quick read book that I would recommend to anyone. A very captivating story from beginning to end.
  • Mischenko
    I'll start by saying this book was amazing! My daughter made me read it. It's juvenile fiction, but what an amazing story about a family who would risk everything to escape slavery. It's a novel written in verse so it's a fairly quick read. I was in all the way until the end and didn't want to put it down. The only problem I had was wanting to know what happened to some of the characters at the end of the story. You're left to wonder just like Gr...
  • Richard Denney
    5 STARS!!!This was such a beautiful and heartbreaking read. Grace is such a strong and heroic character and I loved reading from her POV in verse. I'm not sure what year this takes place in but know it's about slavery and in some parts of the country it's been abolished but in Virginia, where this story takes place it hasn't been taken care of yet, which is the reason Grace and her family are considered runaway slaves and are trying to get to fre...
  • Claire
    This book was amazing! Grace was so brave and smart! Everyone NEEDS to read this book!
  • Sam
    I read Unbound in one night. It's an easy read, thanks to the verse and colloquial writing style that feels natural to southerners. But just because it's simply written, doesn't mean it doesn't have punching power. Unbound is a beautiful, spiritual story of young, light-skinned Grace (a house slave) who digs herself (and her entire family) into a horrible situation when she speaks up for what's right. Grace & her family must escape into the Great...
  • Susan
    I want to read this to my fourth-grade class. No, I need to read it to them. They need to hear Grace's story, and - living in Virginia - they need to have a heartfelt connection to the Great Dismal Swamp. Ann Burg has accomplished a great work in capturing words to describe hope in the face of the horror of slavery, all in a manner appropriate for middle-grade readers. Hope embodied by the courage and sacrifice of others. Stunning.
  • Aryana Parmar
    3.5 stars really... it was a good book but it wasn't the best of the caudills for sure. Anyways, read it if you like books in verse... uh, yeah.
  • Lily
    I loved, loved, loved Unbound because of the unique choice of writing the novel in verse. While the story was a quick read, it felt unified in a way that made you want to read more. However, the end was a bit of a cliffhanger. I wish the author wrapped up the story more. Overall, the story was one of my favorites I have read so far.
  • Tara Warmerdam
    A beautiful, important story. I will write a full review in a few days. For now, I want to dwell in the lovely language and the powerful ending to this story while I think about my review. I am already returning to reread my favorite passages....
  • Nancy Kotkin
    Novel-in-verse about slavery. At nine years old, Grace is no longer a child. As the story opens, Grace is just about to become a house slave for the Master who owns her mother and stepfather. She is rightly terrified and, as it turns out, not very good at practicing submissiveness or blindly following directions. As a result, the tobacco plantation owners decide to sell off Grace's mother and both the stepbrothers Grace has been helping to raise....
  • April
    Grace is pulled from the slave cabins to work in the Big House. Despite warnings from her mother and Uncle Jim and others to just "keep her eyes down and her mouth shut" Grace can't tamp down on her "rightiness voice". Grace and her family flee slavery into the deep swamps in search of Freedom. This verse-style story is meant for middle-grade readers but could be enjoyed by adults as well. The plot of Grace and her family as slaves and then worki...
  • Yapha
    This free verse novel follows the story of Grace as she is torn from her mother and brothers and sent to work in the Big House, due to her light skin. Grace and her family are slaves on a plantation near the Great Dismal Swamp. Only nine years old, Grace promises her mother that she will keep her eyes down and her thoughts to herself, but she sees new things every day that cause her to question why things are the way they are. The injustice of it...
  • Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
    Outstanding novel in verse about Grace, a slave girl who, with her family, escape to the interior of the Great Dismal Swamp rather than be sent to the auction block. Characters who speak in the language and accents of the times, combined with details of period life, lend authenticity to the tale. Not long ago I saw on a segment of "Mysteries at the Museum" that an anthropologist looking for traces of the escaped slave and Native American settleme...
  • Andrew Blok
    This book is great. You should read it. It won't take long. Do it!A novel in verse from the perspective of Grace, a young, slave in antebellum North Carolina (most likely), Unbound tells a story of oppression with a newer focus. Instead of focusing solely on the physical horrors of slavery, Grace's story, which certainly deals with the physical, focuses on Grace's conception of her personhood. Grace is told, when she goes to work in the Big House...
  • Courtnei
    This book was a perfect book to introduce middle school and upper elementary students to slavery from the perspective of someone their own age. It was written in simple, yet expressive language that demonstrated just how hard it was to be a slave, to keep your head down when people were constantly belittling and mistreating you simply because your skin happened to be a different color.
  • Sarah
    E ARC from EdelweissThis story about freedom and family will stay with me for a while. It was particularly meaningful because the Great Dismal Swamp is not too far away from me, and I had not previously given any thought about its importance in the past.
  • Jiun
    This book was one of the best books that I have every read. I first read it because my friend recommended it to me. I didn't think much of it and gave it a try. I read the first few pages and immediately fell in love. This book had emotion and adventure tied together to make one AWESOME book. I would recommend this book to anyone.
  • Rubaina
    I really liked this book. I don't usually like novels in verse but this one was really good. I would recommend this book to people who like historical fiction.
  • Angela Kidd Shinozaki
    I feel fortunate that I discovered and was able to read two novels in verse in a row. This one had quite a unique story to tell. It's not just about slavery or escaping or freedom. These slaves escape to the swamps where they make a new life. It's based on true accounts. The author employs dialect to tell this story, which can slow the reading down a tad, but makes the story feel more authentic. And truly, this is a fast-paced, read-it-to-the-end...
  • Destinee Sutton
    I remember being a young kid learning about slavery and thinking something along the lines of, "Why would anyone accept being a slave?" At the time I didn't understand a lot of things. I didn't understand the drive to stay alive, even if it means living under unbearable conditions. I didn't understand what it means to be born into a culture that denies your humanity. If I had had the opportunity to read this book back then, I think it would've he...
  • Angie
    This is the story of Grace and her family who are all slaves to a tobacco farmer in the south. It's a fictional story about a real time in our history just before the Civil War, when African Americans were considered to be the property of white people. This book made me uncomfortable. I felt antsy reading it. At one point I put it down and felt like I needed to do something RIGHT NOW from my couch in my home to make up for the injustice against t...
  • Janet
    An incredible and wonderful, thought provocing story in verse about an enslaved child who bravely runs away with her family to live in freedom. The author tells the harrowing story in the first person thus allowing the reader to see the world from this little girl's perspective. She is light-skinned and blue-eyed and therefore is plucked from her family to work as a house servant. There she learns the cruelty of her owners first-hand.This is a ma...
  • Deena Lipomi
    Nine-year-old Grace is being sent to the big house from her cabin where she picks tobacco with her family, but she has a hard time following Mama's orders to keep her eyes down and mouth shut so her family must flee Master's house and find Freedom in the swamp. Written in verse, this middle grade novel has a dialect that takes a few pages to get into, but then flows with a poetic cadence. Grace is spunky and lovable and brave, as is her family. A...
  • Kristi Bell
    A novel in verse about a child, Grace, born into slavery. She is old enough to move to the Big House to assist the others in the kitchen. She worries about her mama and brothers she has left behind in the slave quarters. Beautifully written book that is suspenseful and educates the middle school reader about slavery. Language: NoneSex: NoneViolence: Talks about beatings but never describes them in detail.
  • Kristin
    I absolutely loved this book and had a hard time putting it down. Although it is written in verse, it was as compelling, detailed, and emotional as a novel written in complete, descriptive sentences. It is told from the point of view of a young slave girl. The author's craft allows the reader to see both what she thinks and what she says in authentic language as she goes through her daily experiences of a young slave realizing how brutal and unfa...
  • Morgan
    A novel in verse about slaves in the early 1860s? DUH. Already knew I was gonna love this one as much as I did, but was pleasantly surprised to learn about the Maroons and their bravery and resilience as they fled slavery and oppression by journeying into the deep and dangerous swamps of Virginia and North Carolina. Two thumbs up.
  • Cecelia
    I finished Unbound: A Novel in Verse by Ann E. Burg. And, I really enjoyed it! It's a great, quick read. I also learned a thing or two about maroons and the Great Dismal Swamp. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a good historical fiction book about slavery.
  • Lorie Barber
    Couldn't put this stunningly beautiful novel-in-verse down. It also taught me a great deal about an aspect of slavery I hadn't previously known about.
  • Beth
    Appreciated the perspective and also the little-known historical background!