Monday, December 9, 2013

The Other Side of Free by Krista Russell

The Other Side of FreeThis story takes in the early 1700's, when the British and Spanish were fighting in what is now Florida. Jem flees from Carolina to a camp outside of St. Augustine where slaves and natives are promised protection by the governor and the Spanish army. He wants to join the militia army, but he's told that he's too skinny and weak. One day, Jem finds a baby owl with an injured wing, and he decides to nurse it back to health. With some rocky moments, they seem to become friends, and Jem sets out to teach Omen to fly and hunt. Jem does many things to entertain himself, but it's not always safe with wild animals and the British army lurking. And unbeknownst to the people in the camp, there's also a spy among them.

The plot offers interesting information about colonial times, and the war supplies the element of suspense. Jem is an adventurous character. I enjoyed the author's description of his relationship with Omen, but she also shared Jem's insecurities and his determination. The conflict between England and Spain before the United States became a country is not a common topic of novels.

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