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4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  922 Ratings  ·  171 Reviews
After ten-year-old Hastin’s family borrows money to pay for his sister’s hospital bill, he leaves his village in northern India to take a job as an elephant keeper and work off the debt. He thinks it will be an adventure, but he isn’t prepared for the cruel circus owner. The crowds that come to the circus see a lively animal who plays soccer and balances on milk bottles, b ...more
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published May 8th 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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Paul  Hankins
You never want to come out too early in review of a book, and CHAINED doesn't release until May of 2012. My apologies--in advance--to not only Lynne Kelly (who--by the way--taught Mr. Hankins how to use a hashtag on Twitter ((just in case you wanted to know who to blame for this)) but to the publisher, Farrar Straus Giroux as well for this early, early review. . .but you see?

I have to be first on this one.

We're always wondering, right? What book will capture our attention in the next year? Pull
Kimberly Sabatini
Mar 02, 2011 Kimberly Sabatini rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg-ya
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
Jan 29, 2011 Eve rated it it was amazing
Five stars isn't enough. I feel so privileged to have gotten to read this beautiful and moving story about a boy and an elephant and to have spent a few hours of my life with Hastin and Nandita. Hastin will steal your heart, Nandita will break it, and their story will melt it. I can't imagine a person alive who wouldn't fall in love with this book.
Jen Bigheart (I Read Banned Books)
Dec 29, 2011 Jen Bigheart (I Read Banned Books) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
Chained is a story about the human spirit and a beautiful relationship between a boy and an elephant, Nandita, who are more alike than different. They are both homeless, alone, lonely, and longing to be with family. Both are in a situation they cannot see themselves out of, and when things take a turn for the worse, they both realize that they are all that they have. Their relationship is the cornerstone to this book. It goes beyond sweet and touching. Their friendship is pure, moving, and unden ...more
Diana Renn
Jan 14, 2011 Diana Renn rated it it was amazing
I read an ARC of CHAINED, and I feel so privileged to have read this amazing book in advance of its May 2012 publication. As soon as it's available for purchase I'll be buying a copy for my son; he's years too young for this middle grade novel, but when he's of age I want it on his shelf alongside other childhood classics. Set in India -- and meticulously researched, to the point where you can smell the mangoes and taste the buttermilk roti -- it's a mesmerizing tale of a 10-year-old boy, Hastin ...more
May 13, 2011 Joanne rated it it was amazing
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 ti ...more
Caroline Rose
"This must be what Ne Min meant about being brave. Never in my life have I been so afraid, but here I stand."

Beautiful book about loyalty, friendship, trust, and dignity. I am changed because of this story.
Nov 11, 2011 Tara rated it it was amazing
From the very first page you will root for Hastin, a 10-yr-old boy in poor, rural India who tends to his ill sister. When she has to go to the hospital and his mother cannot pay for her treatment, Hastin scurries around looking for a job, but no one seems willing to take him on, despite his enthusiasm. That is, until he meets the charismatic Timir, a circus owner. Timir promises Hastin more than enough rupees for his sister's care if Hastin will be an elephant keeper for one year. It sounds like ...more
Nov 01, 2011 Gina rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg
I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of CHAINED (Margaret Ferguson Books/FSG/Macmillan – 5/8/2012) by Lynne Kelly, and I immediately fell in love with Nandita’s sad elephant eyes on the cover. From the first line, I was drawn into the hopeful world of 10 year old Hastin as he tries to be the man of the family and help his widowed mother and critically ill sister by offering his services as an elephant keeper in exchange for five thousand rupees needed to pay for his sister’s medical bill. Th ...more
Kerry Cerra
Apr 24, 2012 Kerry Cerra rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg
There are literally millions of great books out there, but every once in a while a special one comes along. A book that simply stands out. I’m never good at explaining what it is that makes a good book so great. It’s kinda like, “You have you read this. You. Just. Have. To!” That’s how I feel about Chained. There are so, so many things to love underneath that sweet cover.

The story is one of an unlikely friendship between Hastin, a ten-year-old boy, and an elephant. Hastin, man of the family sinc
Sarvenaz Tash
Mar 01, 2011 Sarvenaz Tash rated it it was amazing
I loved this book in elephant-sized proportions. A gorgeous, timeless story that is so beautifully written, heartfelt and heart-wrenching. I would not be surprised at all if it swept up a ton of major awards next year; it would be extremely deserving of all of them.

If you are a fan of books like "Where the Red Fern Grows" or "Water for Elephants," I think "Chained" will be ranked right up there with them and held up as a classic for generations to come.
Nov 05, 2011 Anne rated it it was amazing
CHAINED is a lovely, lovely book about the connections between human beings and the people (and elephants) they care about. Beautifully written and grippingly plotted, CHAINED became my world while I was reading it. My children will be moved by this story, and I suspect my children's children's children will still be moved by it ages from now. A classic is born!
Mar 01, 2011 Lynda rated it it was amazing

Wow! This is one memorable novel. Poignant and visually beautiful. There are parts where you want to read slowly and just take it all in. And get those tissues ready, as well. As much as I wanted to read the ending, I didn't want it to end. Brava, Ms Kelly! Brava!
M.G. King
Mar 07, 2012 M.G. King rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 02, 2012 Cynthia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I wish I had the proper words to express how well-written this book is, and what a powerful story it tells. Other people will write better reviews--of this I'm sure. (And after some time has passed, I will be able to write a much better one myself.)

Just know that it is a book I treasure. It will go on that shelf of much-loved titles that I will return to for years to come.

Apr 21, 2012 Laura rated it it was amazing
I read this with my 10 year old daughter and we loved it. My daughter was so hooked, she read ahead without me several times :) She also bawled and bawled and BAWLED -- but that is a good thing. This book really tugs at your very core and was so very beautifully written. My daughter and I both would give it beyond five stars if we could!
Autumn C
Oct 26, 2016 Autumn C rated it liked it
In Chained by Lynne Kelly, a ten year old boy named Hastin has to work at an old circus because his family can't pay for his ill sister's hospital bill. He goes to a old rundown circus and is told to trap a young elephant. When he does he is told to train her
The Reading Countess
Gorgeously written, Chained will leave you needing a tissue. Thanks to Lynne Kelly, my students skyped with her halfway through the read aloud lending an air of authenticity to not only the story but also the lengthy writing process an author endures to get a book to print.

Highly recommended.
Vonna Carter
Jan 19, 2012 Vonna Carter rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg
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.
Sue Morris
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 l
Sarah B.
Jun 16, 2014 Sarah B. rated it did not like it
To be fair, I didn't finish this book, so my impressions at page 82/242 are incomplete. Maybe this is a really great book starting in Chapter 12!

It probably says a lot about my personality that I made it through the poverty, childhood diseases, indentured servitude, classism, families being broken apart, animal cruelty, and child slavery -- but when it came time to beat the baby elephant, I tapped out. Looking back, I should have put this book down a lot sooner. I hung in there during some dark,
April Hochstrasser
Aug 20, 2012 April Hochstrasser rated it it was amazing
The story is one of an unlikely friendship between Hastin, a ten-year-old boy, and an elephant. Hastin, man of the family since his father’s death, must take a job as an elephant keeper far from home to pay off a family debt. Though he’ll miss his mom and sister, Hastin is excited for the adventure that awaits. But nothing could prepare him for the cruelty both he and the elephant, Nandita, endure. Their bond is tighter than the shackles on Nandita’s feet and their love and friendship allow them ...more
Dixie Keyes
Jan 31, 2016 Dixie Keyes rated it it was amazing
If you've ever had an animal friend, a true friend that sleeps with you each night, that reads your mind, that brings you peace during anxious'll love this book. It's a book about such a friendship, but also about trauma, family and loss. Lynne Kelly has done an exquisite job in bringing varied characters together, both protagonists and antagonists, in a journey toward freedom, healing, and letting go of the past. With Nandita, the young elephant, at the center of the story, we learn ...more
Oct 11, 2012 Danielle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade-ya
A very special read.

A boy who misses his family, an elephant who misses hers.

"Outside, the wind blows toward my home. I hold up the handful of hair and release it to a gust of wind and watch it fly away. I dream that the wind is strong enough to carry it all the way to my village, where it will help make a nest for a bird. And Amma will see the wavy black hair woven into a next and know that I am alright." (p. 139)

A coming of age story in which the boy has to make his own family in a terrible si
Oak Lawn Public Library - Youth Services
This book for young readers introduces us to Hastin and his family who live in the Indian desert. When his sister becomes sick, Hastin must go find work to pay for her care. He ends up as the caretaker of an elephant named Nandita. This is a great story of adventure and all the highs and lows that come with it. Hastin is a brave boy who will do all he can to help, but greedy people and human nature try stopping him at every turn. I believe this story will be enjoyed by a wide range of young read ...more
Feb 18, 2015 Fatma_HK rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult

This novel has its own unique atmosphere, while reading it you will experience the different emotions that faced every Chained reader.

It is a beautiful and heartbreaking journey and I love the serious issues that were discussed in the novel such as poverty, child laboring and injustice.

Hastin, Nandita, Ne min were my favorite characters. It is a very informative novel; there were many details about the Indian culture and elephants.

I recommend this book to every child, adolescent and adult.
Aug 12, 2012 Ms.Patterson rated it really liked it
The Year of the Elephant books continues (in my life). So many great stories with elephant characters and themes. This one features a kid taken away from his home as he tries to do what is right for his family. He gets a job taking care of an elephant from a very disreputable man, and has to take part in capturing the elephant and has to help heal the elephant when it is treated badly. But he has an ally who helps him be bold and daring. Love the setting of India.
Jun 26, 2012 Tracie rated it liked it
3.5 stars. I got a few books for Xander to read this summer, this being one of them. It is a beautiful little story but I think it might be a little too tough emotionally for kids Xander's age (7). It's funny because Xander took one look at the cover and said he didn't want to read it because it made him sad looking at the little elephant chained up - glad I read it first! Definitely a book for kids a little older, like 10 and up.
Jul 14, 2015 Arya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an exciting read, and I kept waiting to see if Hastin and Nandita would break free. At the end however, there were many loose ends and I had hoped for them to be tied up somehow. A heartwarming story in any case, Chained is a book full of love, companionship, and the struggle to defy all odds and come out safe in the end.
Kathy MacMillan
Nov 30, 2013 Kathy MacMillan rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. The relationship between boy and elephant is so beautifully done. Some parts in the middle were very hard to read and for awhile I was sure there could be no happy ending, but the author absolutely pulled it off - a believable, hopeful resolution.
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elephants in literature 3 8 Jan 26, 2012 07:28AM  
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Lynne Kelly writes contemporary middle grade and young adult fiction. She was born in Galesburg, Illinois, grew up in Houston, lived in some much colder places, then found her way back to the Houston area, where she works as a sign language interpreter. For a few years she also taught special education, a good career for someone with excellent organizational and planning skills. Lacking those skil ...more
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