The refresher course in American history was my favorite thing about this book. Valley Forge, winter of 1777-78. Remember learning about that in school? Thousands of men (and quite a few women, too) starved and froze all winter long, and many died. The suffering was largely a result of incompetence and poor planning on the part of their leaders. Some things never change...The continuing story of Curzon and Isabel was enjoyable, if a little contrived. I think it will appeal to young people as they imagine what kids their age were facing 230+ years ago. Many of the soldiers at Valley Forge were really just boys in their early teen years. Laurie Halse Anderson's research is impeccable. I admire her dedication to accuracy in writing historical novels for young adults. Her stories have enough complexity to appeal to more mature readers as well. Book 3, Ashes, is due out next year. I'll be eagerly watching for it.