Chains is an award-winning young adult historical fiction novel by Laurie Halse Anderson, the first book in her Seeds of America trilogy. Chains follows the enslaved thirteen-year-old Isabel from Rhode Island to New York City during eight months of the American Revolution. Isabel protects her younger sister and longs for their freedom as they are sold to an abusive couple. As the revolution brews, Isabel befriends a young slave named Curzon and, through him, becomes a spy for the patriots who carries messages, shares secret information, and suffers betrayal, and abuse. As the months pass, Isabel is transformed into a strong, passionate, and powerful young woman. Chains was published in 2008 and was followed by Forge in 2010 and Ashes in 2016.


Read the chapter-by-chapter Summary & Analysis, a Full Book Summary, or Full Book Analysis of Chains.


See a complete Character List for Chains, as well as in-depth analysis of its most important characters.

Literary Devices

Here's where you'll find analysis of the main themes, motifs, and symbols in Chains.


Here's where you'll find important quotes from Chains and explanations of them.


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