"“In 1960 white people were white people and colored people were colored and nobody had any trouble telling them apart.” The beauty of Sherman’s novel lies in this sentiment. The Freedom Maze is a novel about the complexity of heritage and race. And it is written on a middle grade level. What Sherman has done here is amazing. Writing about Sophie and her family in 1960 she creates an atmosphere of subtle and even casual racism (that will be familiar to today’s readers because it still very much exists). Then she has that juxtaposed brilliantly against the utter cruelty of Sophie’s family in 1860 and the new family that creates itself around her."
"Multilayered, compassionate, and thought-provoking." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Thirteen-year-old Sophie isn’t happy about spending the summer of 1960 at her grandmother’s old house in the bayou. Bored and lonely, she can’t resist exploring the house’s maze, or making an impulsive wish for a fantasy-book adventure with herself as the heroine. What she gets instead is a real adventure: a trip back in time to 1860 and the race-haunted world of her family’s Louisiana sugar plantation. Here, President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation is still two years in the future and passage of the Thirteenth Amendment is almost four years away. And here, Sophie is mistaken, by her own ancestors, for a slave.
About the Author
Sherman has created a finely honed work of art, a novel that deals eloquently with complex and intersecting issues of race, womanhood, class and age. In transporting the reader so fully into another time, The Freedom Maze becomes timeless. This is true magic. —Alaya Dawn Johnson, author of The Summer Prince
A subtle, nuanced, uncomfortable and brave young adult novel about racism and time-travel. —Cory Doctorow