Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
Isabel is a thirteen-year old slave girl living in 1776. Chains follows Isabel and her younger sister Ruth, as they struggle to cope following the death not only of their parents, but their owner. The girls find themselves relocated to New York, under the roof of Loyalist masters. Isabel's only thought is to protect Ruth and stay together. But when their tiny family is put in jeopardy, it's everything Isabel can do just to survive.
Set against the upheaval of the American Revolution, Anderson creates a riveting story told from inside British occupied New York. The setting is lushly described. Anderson has done her homework. The heroine speaks in an honest, heart-rending voice of confusion. Confusion at questions of good and evil, liberty and captivity. Beautiful and painful, Chains is an important book.
My only disappointment: the story doesn't end when the book does. There's a sequel (which I was unaware of) slated for release in 2010. It's called Forge. I'll be reading it.