(2) 4-6 "On this day, my father was murdered because he said a prayer." So begins the saga of thirteen-year-old Noah Cope, who becomes caught up in the American Revolution. Noah's father had been a pastor and a Loyalist in the (fictional) town of Tullbury, Massachusetts. Upon his death, Noah's family moves to Boston, where the teen gets a job at the (nonfictional) Green Dragon tavern, spying for the British. There a coworker, Jolla, who is Black, becomes Noah's friend. He challenges Noah to think more about freedom, and Noah comes to realize how "tangled" everything is: "The rebels claimed they fought for liberty but tyrannized those who disagreed with them, such as my father. The British said they upheld English rights but denied them to others. Both sides supported slavery." At story's end, Noah and Jolla are loyal to each other, and for them, that is enough. Avi's narrative, told through dated entries beginning on April 1, 1774, and concluding on March 17, 1776, ebbs and flows with the tides of war, gaining intensity as the Battles of Lexington and Concord loom and slowing down during the doldrums of the long siege of Boston. The story is spiked with lively dialogue, especially effective as Jolla and Noah sort out how they feel about "being in a place where there are all kinds of slavery." An extensive author's note points out how the ideals of the American Revolution and definitions of the words patriot, traitor, and loyalty are still being debated today.


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