Algonquin. Mar. 2021. 336p. Tr $26.95. ISBN 9781616207014.
Gr 9 Up–The question of freedom in all its varied senses weave throughout this stunning historical novel. Libertie, a dark-skinned girl, was born free in post–Civil War Brooklyn. Her light-skinned mother (based on a real-life figure) worked to help with the Underground Railroad and as a doctor, a practice she expects Libertie to take over. But after spending time at an all-Black girls school, Libertie finds herself drawn away from science and towards music. Searching for a freedom to call her own, Libertie agrees to marry a Haitian man who claims that in Haiti, she will be treated as his equal. However, she is startled to discover that even there, she is expected to be subordinate. She struggles with this new life for herself, questioning her decision to give up the potential for a more independent life alongside her mother in Brooklyn. Woven through Libertie’s coming of age is her growing understanding of colorism, classism, racism, and patriarchy as she struggles to define what being free means for a Black woman. This engaging novel immerses readers in a world rich with historical detail that brings to life lesser-known aspects of post–Civil War American history, such as Black women in medicine and the relationship between Haiti and the United States.
VERDICT This will appeal to teenage fans of adult authors like Toni Morrison, Brit Bennett, and Yaa Gyasi.

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