Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 4 - 8Grades 4 - 12Z5.648212
Anita de la Torre never questioned her freedom living in the Dominican Republic. But by her 12th birthday in 1960, most of her relatives have emigrated to the United States, her Tío Toni has disappeared without a trace, and the government’s secret police terrorize her remaining family because of their suspected opposition of el Trujillo’s dictatorship.

Using the strength and courage of her family, Anita must overcome her fears and fly to freedom, leaving all that she once knew behind.

From renowned author Julia Alvarez comes an unforgettable story about adolescence, perseverance, and one girl’s struggle to be free.
Hardcover, 166 pages
Published on August 13, 2002 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0375815449
ISBN-13: 9780375815447
12 Book Reviews
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  • Lenny_552789262Sunday, July 28, 2019 at 10:27 am
    I personally didn’t like this book.I had it for a summer project and it wasn’t enjoyable.But it was a well put together book!
    • dremon1209YoWednesday, April 5, 2017 at 11:06 am
      The writing style of my book is second person so you don’t just get the perspective or one person you get the perspective of all. No puedo, Dona Margot. Tengo un compromiso. “ In this author's writing style she writes a lot of spanish but also english. A hispanic family is trying to go to america but the SIM come and the little girl anita doesn’t know why and no one will answer. My opinion on the book is that there are some boring parts but it would be a really good book to teach someone what hispanics had to go through in the 60’s. Julia Alvarez is a Dominican-American poet, novelist, and essayist. She was born in New York City. Her before we were Free won the pura Belpre Award.
      • JoJoWednesday, April 5, 2017 at 10:51 am
        Julia Alvarez, the author of Before we were Free takes readers back in time to the 60s in Dominican Republic. The setting is in the Dominican Republic in 1960. Some of the main characters are Anita, Carla, Mami, Papi and Tio Toni. Some of the plot is the SIM invades Anita’s house. Julia’s writing style is in first person. I don’t like it because it was hard to follow who was who. She makes it confusing on whether Chucha is a human or a pet. It also does not feel like you are in Dominican Republic in the 1960’s. Julia’s writing style is in first person. I don’t like it because it was hard to follow who was who. She makes it confusing on whether Chucha is a human or a pet. It also does not feel like you are in Dominican Republic in the 1960’s. ¨It turns out that the SIM discovered the plot and most of our uncle´s friends were arrested¨ Before we were Free was a boring book. I was long and had to many spanish words. If you like action adventure or fantasy than this book is not for you. If you like books about social issues than this book is for you. Before we were free was given the Pura Belpre Award. Julia grew up in the Dominican Republic.
        • Shaw Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at 10:12 am
          this book was a good book and plotted out great i liked this book cause it was mysterious and interesting.
          • greenmonkey
            greenmonkeyWednesday, April 5, 2017 at 10:00 am44 stars
            I though this book was a good book there was a lot of adventure and a lot of mystery
            • sophia0119Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at 6:02 am
              This story was absolutely amazing! I felt like a was in Anita's mind and experiencing everything with her. It was amazing how the author made the character face serious,dangerous, life threatening problems but at the same time made her go through normal everyday problems that almost all girls/kids have to experience. That made it feel that I could relate to her and understand her more.
              • chromebooksWednesday, April 5, 2017 at 6:01 am
                I just read this book and it was very good. It shows me how lucky we are to live in a free country without a dictator. Don't take advantage of what you have because other people don't have those things.
                • littyWednesday, April 5, 2017 at 5:56 am
                  This book has a lot of detail and it's really fun to learn about the Dominican Republic.
                  • otter
                    otterThursday, December 5, 2013 at 2:41 pm
                    I just started this, and so far it is amazingly detailed and really well written and interesting! It is about a girl named Anita in the Dominican Republic (it is right next to Haiti, in the carribean) who's cousin moved to the USA.
                    • thunder_buddy
                      thunder_buddyTuesday, April 23, 2013 at 2:07 pm44 stars
                      This book is very good and detailed. It took me a week or so to read it. It's written good.