A Time Best YA Book of All Time (2021)
In this “searing work of historical fiction” (Booklist), Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Sharon M. Draper tells the epic story of a young girl torn from her African village, sold into slavery, and stripped of everything she has ever known—except hope.
Amari's life was once perfect. Engaged to the handsomest man in her tribe, adored by her family, and fortunate enough to live in a beautiful village, it never occurred to her that it could all be taken away in an instant. But that was what happened when her village was invaded by slave traders. Her family was brutally murdered as she was dragged away to a slave ship and sent to be sold in the Carolinas. There she was bought by a plantation owner and given to his son as a "birthday present".
Now, survival is all Amari can dream about. As she struggles to hold on to her memories, she also begins to learn English and make friends with a white indentured servant named Molly. When an opportunity to escape presents itself, Amari and Molly seize it, fleeing South to the Spanish colony in Florida at Fort Mose. Along the way, their strength is tested like never before as they struggle against hunger, cold, wild animals, hurricanes, and people eager to turn them in for reward money. The hope of a new life is all that keeps them going, but Florida feels so far away and sometimes Amari wonders how far hopes and dreams can really take her.
Sharon M. Draper is a three-time New York Times bestselling author and a recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring her significant and lasting contribution to writing for teens. She has received the Coretta Scott King Award for both Copper Sun and Forged by Fire and was awarded the Charlotte Huck Award for Stella by Starlight. Her novel Out of My Mind has won multiple awards and was a New York Times bestseller for over three years, and Blended has also been a New York Times bestseller. She taught high school English for twenty-five years and was named National Teacher of the Year. She now lives in Florida. Visit her at SharonDraper.com.