History and mystery tie into exciting YA novel set in Prohibition

The Other Side of Freedom by Cynthia Toney is a well-written, action-packed novel that looks at the cost of certain decisions. I enjoy going back in history and imagining what it was like living in a different time, knowing the people in the story. This is a fresh story about a time period and group of people I haven’t read much about so I found it especially eye-opening.

Set in the 1920s in Louisiana, young Sal wrestles with doing the right thing in situations that are unclear at times—when doing the right thing may mean more danger or punishment or persecution. Readers fall into a small town being affected by the mafia and bootlegging during the Prohibition. One also learns about discrimination of Italians and Negroes.

My daughters also found this an excellent book. The following is what they said:

Emily, 12, said the book was exciting and interesting with no boring parts. She liked Sal and Antonina and the tension brought on by their detective work.

Kaitlyn, 15, said she was in constant suspense and wanted to keep reading to know what would happen. She said it was a good story, never boring. While trying to figure out who the bad cop was she found herself second guessing. She hopes there is a sequel because she would like to know what happens to grown up Sal and Antonina.

I think teachers would find value using this book in the classroom because there would be many points for discussion, and it would be a book both boys and girls would find appealing.

I hope you’ll find a copy to share with a young person in your life.

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