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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, May 30, 2012
By 
Vonna (United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Chained (Hardcover)
When I was ten, I would have read this book a thousand times, hugged it, bawled over it and slept with it under my pillow. With her unforgettable characters, vivid world building and tense plot, Lynne Kelly has created a new classic.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book - bring tissues!, May 8, 2012
By 
This review is from: Chained (Hardcover)
Like a WATER FOR ELEPHANTS for a younger crowd, this book dragged me through an emotional wringer as I read about an elephant and her young keeper at a circus in India. I loved Hastin from the beginning - he is a brave, loyal and strong boy, well beyond his ten years, but he shares the spotlight with an equally brave, loyal and strong elephant, Nandita. To say I loved this book doesn't really do justice to how it made me feel, but throughout I laughed and cried and had my heart broken several times by this boy and his elephant and the situations they faced. But the ending was as it needed to be: bittersweet, but satisfying and enough to mend my torn up heart.

A beautiful book that I think anyone will love.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book should be in every classroom!!!, May 8, 2012
By 
Kimberly Sabatini (The Hudson Valley, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Chained (Hardcover)
If you love Linda Sue Park, then you should grab CHAINED with both hands, as soon as it hits the shelves. First and foremost, I loved 10-year-old Hastin. As a mom, I can only hope to raise boys who embody all that this young man stands for. He is compassionate, never looses his ability to love and finds strength beyond his years when he needs it the most. I can't wait to own a copy of CHAINED to share with my own boys.

Hastin isn't the only character that moved me. This is a story of a beautiful friendship between a boy and an elephant. Nandita stole my heart with her playful, sensitive personality. This elephant and young boy have an amazing connection and their relationship will have a lasting impact on me. It doesn't matter if Kelly is writing about gentle giants, adults who have made mistakes, people left without choices or boys who rise to their own occasion, she has a talent for making the characters feel real and for making readers feel.

And just to warn you, after you read this book, you are going to want to go out and hug an elephant. Get in line.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Debut Novel - Gripping Story, June 16, 2012
This review is from: Chained (Hardcover)
Meet Chanda. She is the catalyst for today's review of Chained, a smart, well-written, and engrossing novel by Lynne Kelly. Chanda is a young girl bitten by fever mosquitoes and now carries a dangerously high temperature. She needs medical help now. With the help of a neighbor, Amma, her mother, takes Chanda to the hospital in the city. Left behind to care for things at home is Chanda's older brother, Hastin.

Thus begins an engaging story of one young boy's quest to help the three women in his life, though he has yet to meet the third. Chanda's care will cost the family 4000-rupee they do not have. Without her husband to help, Amma barters her services as a house cleaner in exchange for the needed money. Hastin does not like the accommodations Amma resides in during her one-year stay and is determined to find a job and send Amma home. Finding a job is no easy task when you are a young boy of ten, with little skills.

Enter Timir, a once prosperous circus owner who is determined to return to his former glory. He needs an elephant keeper. Hastin needs a job. Timir will graciously talk to the rich man and pay off Amma's debt, and add a salary Hastin will collect at the end of his one-year stint as the elephant keeper. There is a catch. Timir does not own an elephant. He expects Hastin to help trap one in the jungle. Chup! No one should know this, he tells Hastin. Timir promises this job is more adventure than work. Hastin has never seen the jungle, having lived all his life is the dessert.

Two other characters are essential in this story. One is Sharad, the elephant trainer who trained under one of the best elephant trainers, but has forgotten most of what he learned. The other is the circus cook, Ne Min, an older man with much elephant experience. Ne Min is like a wise grandfather, but with secrets that bring him shame.

Fast forward past some wonderful prose and scenes that will throw your emotions topsy-turvy and Timir has his elephant. Hastin names the elephant Nandita and the two become best friends. Hastin must feed, bathe, and sleep with Nandita. He cares for any injuries or ills she may acquire. None of these tasks is easy.

Timir, the once jovial employer-in-need, has chained both Hastin and Nandita. He chains Nandita around the neck and feet, while chaining Hastin to a debt Timir seems reluctant to let the boy work off his debt. Timir is a paranoid and angry man with a cruel streak. Each time he thinks Hastin has broken one of his rules, Timir adds another three months onto the loan agreement. Neither the young boy nor the young elephant think they will ever get out from under Timir's brutal thumb.

I need to stop here. There is so much action in Chained that I could write twice the normal review. I adore this book. It is one of the, no, it is the best book I have read from a debut author and the best book by anyone so far this year. Chained is a novel all aspiring authors need to deconstruct. It is near perfect execution of craft. Scenes unfold naturally without one unnecessary word and the plot is unusual, well researched, and builds to the perfect ending that will satisfy the reader. The well-defined characters have unforgettable personalities, including Nandita. This is the kind of writing editors and publishers are looking for.

The story is set in Northern India and features two distinct regions: the dessert and the jungle. Important subjects include family, loyalty, honor, and trust. Chained is a good choice for social studies teachers. The story contains many concepts a teacher can use to great success in her classroom. Being well constructed, in addition to being wonderfully told, makes Chained a great choice for a book report. The issue of animal care, wild animal care in particular, can lead off a classroom discussion that will every student interested.

Chained is also a story boys and girls will not put down, if they can get it away from their parents long enough to read it. Yes, Chained is a middle grade book. Yes, Chained could be marketed to adults, it is that good, that engaging of a story. If you can only purchase one book, make it Chained. This one is going to be on every library's most requested list.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gem of a Novel, November 18, 2013
By 
Nolen (Houston, TX) - See all my reviews
A well-written middle-grade novel about a boy who become an indentured servant to pay his sister's medical debts. He is sent to work at a circus in the woods in India. First, he must help trap a baby elephant. He is reluctant to help because he watches the elephants every day and has become attached to them. The circus owner is a cruel, deceitful man. He illegally traps the elephant and then charges Hastin more days for being slow, for dropping things, for making mistakes. Soon Hastin's days as servant turn into months and still the circus owner makes him feel like he owes him more days.

Hastin passes most days helping the Burmese cook with cleaning and cooking, repairing fences and caring for the baby elephant that has been captured. The elephant and boy are treated harshly.

The chapters are elegantly crafted with true elephant facts, Indian culture, and the different languages and cultures that abound in India. This little gem of a novel will endure the passage of time because nothing about it is dated. These practices take place in India today, and if not India, somewhere in the world man will always oppress man.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read aloud book!, March 24, 2014
This review is from: Chained (Hardcover)
I just read this book to my 2nd and 3rd grade daughters. I actually found it by accident while searching our library shelves for another book; so glad I decided to pick it up! From the first chapter 'we' were hooked. My girls would start asking me every evening around 6:30, "Are you going to read 'Chained' to us tonight?" My 3rd grader may have been okay reading it by herself, but reading it together was a treat for all of us and we were able to periodically stop and discuss the characters, plot and make predictions. I can't say enough about the richness of this novel. It was also VERY refreshing to read a story to the girls about a country - and culture - that is foreign to them. I highly recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended by my 9 year old!, May 20, 2014
This review is from: Chained (Hardcover)
My 9 year old son just finished this book at 11 PM last night. It was the first book he has read entirely on his own that is a book at or slightly over his reading level. He couldn't put it down. As a mother, it was joyous for me to see him find a book that he wanted to read over playing a video game. He wanted to tell me all about every stage of the story, and I could tell it struck him emotionally! Thank you Lynne Kelly. Please write another book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MEMORABLE STORY!, June 7, 2012
This review is from: Chained (Hardcover)
One gorgeous read. If you've ever wanted to befriend an elephant, journey with young Hastin through the pages of CHAINED. Separated from the families they love, Nandita and Hastin are forced to work for a greedy circus owner. This memorable story about loyalty, bravery, and respect for one of earth's finest creatures will stay with me for a long time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, June 8, 2014
This review is from: Chained (Kindle Edition)
The unusual topic was one of the reasons that I found this book interesting. The author did an amazing job of connecting the reader to the main character and his horrible circumstances. I appreciated the factual information at the end which would make a good stepping point for discussion about similar wildlife issues.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it twice!, November 23, 2013
By 
D. Fisher (Houston, TX area) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chained (Hardcover)
I loved this book so much, I read it twice! A sweet brother, a young elephant, a villain and India details make this fascinating and heart tugging. Life isn't always easy, but love abounds. Curl up in a chair and prepare to be charmed by this engaging book!
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Chained
Chained by Lynne Kelly (Hardcover - May 8, 2012)
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