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The Other Side of Freedom

4.78  ·  Rating details ·  40 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Winner of 2018 Literary Classics Book Awards:
Gold, Upper Middle Grade General and Gold, Upper Middle Grade Historical.

Winner of 2018 Independent Author Network Book of the Year Awards: Outstanding Fiction in Children's/Juvenile Fiction and Second Place in Fiction Book of the Year.

Winner of 2018 Readers' Favorite Book Awards: Gold Medal, Children, Coming of Age.

Winner of
Paperback, 198 pages
Published October 9th 2017 by Write Integrity Press
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Susan Peek
I've been a fan of Cynthia T. Toney for a few years, ever since I discovered her popular“Bird Face” series. So before I even picked up “The Other Side of Freedom,” I already knew I was putting myself in the hands of an exceptionally talented author. I also already knew this new book would be very different from her other stories. While “Bird Face” is a series of contemporary novels for teenage girls, with a female protagonist struggling to live her Catholic faith in a modern high school setting ...more
Amanda Lauer
Jan 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Very well-written story set during Prohibition in the U.S. (1925) and how the mob and the mafia changed a 13-year-old boy's life forever. Things go from bad to worse for Sal and his Italian immigrant parents living in Louisiana when the mob comes to town and goes after them because of Sal's uncle's connection to the mob in Italy. You'll want to set aside a couple of hours to read this, once you start, it's hard to put down. ...more
Steven R. McEvoy
This was the fourth book by Cynthia T. Toney that I have read in the last year. The other three are from the Bird Face series about life in modern high school. And as much as I liked those books, I really loved this one. This book is completely different. It is historical fiction and set in the southern United States, in the 1920's. This middle grade novel is an amazing read for young readers, teens and even adults willing to give it a short.

This is a very moving book. It draws upon emptions, p
Leslea Wahl
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Other Side of Freedom by Cynthia T. Toney is a middle-grade novel set in Louisiana during the tumultuous Prohibition years. This coming of age story focuses on the difficult choices and decisions one Italian immigrant family must face while desperately trying to keep their family together.
I didn’t know much about this interesting time in our history when Italian/Sicilian mobsters terrorized American communities. I was fascinated by this story and how these crime sprees affected law-abiding
Kaye Hinckley
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In 1925, Sal Scaviano is a conscientious thirteen year old Italian boy who loves his family, as well as the Louisiana fruit and vegetable farm in a town called Freedom--although at this point in his young life, Sal is questioning whether he should pursue farming when he becomes the good man he truly wants to be. His answer comes sooner than expected, as Sal witnesses his father forced by members of the Mob to be part of a robbery that ends in murder. Cynthia Toney does a superior job revealing S ...more
Linda Sammaritan
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love a good historical read, especially when an author can portray a great sense of setting in a middle grade novel. Cynthia T. Toney does an excellent job placing her reader in the Deep South during the days of Prohibition. The combination of bootleggers intimidating a small rural community and the entrenched discrimination against African Americans makes for enthralling conflict.
But Toney goes farther than a good guy-bad guy story. She places Sal, a thirteen-year-old farm boy, in the unsett
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I purchased this book for my 12-year-old daughter because it was on her Christmas wish-list of new books out by her favorite authors.

The Other Side of Freedom is another wonderful book by Christian author Cynthia Toney. And, like other Toney books I’ve read, this one is perfectly acceptable to share with the teens and tweens in your life: it is a clean read. 1920s Louisiana is the setting, so it’s perfect to work into a homeschool literature and history lesson as well. There is even a set of stu
Theresa Linden
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As a fan of historical fiction, I thoroughly enjoyed The Other Side of Freedom by Cynthia Toney. This story, set in the 1920s, has so many historical and time-period details, from the 1924 Ford Model T Tudor to the mention of Al Capone and the first black man elected to the US Senate. The tension begins in the first scene when Sal finds well-dressed strangers at the door. And the tension mounts from there with an attempted bank robbery, a death, sneaking and spying, and a lot of tough choices an ...more
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved The Other Side of the Freedom - the writing, the story, the close-knit Italian family, and the early 20th century Louisiana strawberry farm setting. Cynthia Toney makes writing look easy with a story that flows smoothly.

Young teen Sal, from whose point of view the story is told, is at the center of an Italian mob's high stakes scheme of running liquor through small Southern towns after Sal's dad and uncle are coerced into abetting them.

The secondary characters - Sal's parents and uncle,
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
AAAHHH! My feelings! They were destroyed in this!

So ... we're in the 1920s Louisiana. Of course, what are the 1920s famous for? PROHIBITION! BOOTLEGGERS! THE GREAT GATSBY ! Yes kids, there are bootleggers.

Sal. The beginning of the end of his life started when a bunch of strangers talked to his dad and uncle on the farm. The poor kid. He always tried to do the right thing. I especially loved his relationship with Antonina. They were so cute! My favorite part with him was when he (view spoile
Brices Mice Christian Book Reviews
"Strangers. And none of them dressed like farmers." A tingling that creeps down 13 year old Sal's hairline, a stern look of warning from his dad to stay back and the glint of a revolver from the men on his porch sets this novel into action. The Other Side of Freedom by Cynthia T. Toney is a remarkable story of love and loyalty amidst the hardship of families in the 1920's.

The mystery evolves and builds, adding characters that enhance and move along the flow of the story. I loved that Toney did n
Loraine Kemp
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Cynthia T. Toney pulls her readers into her riveting story that follows an Italian immigrant family in the Deep South during Prohibition in the 1920's. Her obvious gifts of research treat her readers to a story that includes the mob and its effects on a small rural community.

Sal, a thirteen-year-old boy watches powerlessly as his family is blackmailed into assisting the mob with a crime that goes bad. The resulting disaster is blamed on Sal's father and the community turns against the family to
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Though this historical fiction was written for young teens, it would appeal to anyone interested in reading about the trials of Italian immigrants during the era of Prohibition. I'd heard of Al Capone and nefarious activities going on during the 1920's but never thought about the effects of that criminal activity upon the average family. The details are so richly drawn, I felt as if I'd been transported back in time. The main character, 13 year old Salvatore (Sal) lives on a strawberry farm with ...more
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In Prohibition-era Louisiana, Sal struggles with questions of right and wrong as an organized-crime ring forces family members into involvement with bootlegging, with heartbreaking results. Keeping the secret will keep Sal and his parents alive, but is it worth the cost of losing contact with friends and his beloved uncle? Recommended for middle-school readers and young teens studying this period of American history.
Kristen Parnell
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Toney does an outstanding job telling a story that makes readers care while also realistically capturing the emotionally-charged challenges that an immigrant family could have faced in America. Highly recommend for middle grade students and families!
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Compelling young adult novel that sensitively addresses race, creed and class distinctions of the Roaring Twenties. Should spark thoughtful discussions about family heritage, loyalties, stereotyping, and ethical decisionmaking.
Elizabeth Pina
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An enthralling tale!

This is an amazing story that will suck you in and keep you turning the pages. I dare you to try and put it down! And the last page makes you want a sequel!
Ms. Toney is an amazing writer. Her descriptions and characters bring the story to life. The details are interesting and the background of Italian immigrants intriguing. Very well done!!
Corinna Turner
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’ve heard so much about this book and all the prizes it’s won, and been intending to read it for some time, although the blurb didn’t entirely grab me. I’m glad I finally read it! It took me a few chapters to get fully into it, but then I was hooked.

Sal is an engaging hero, and all the characters are fun and well drawn, especially Hiram (I liked the little flashes that highlighted the situation of black people at the time, without letting it take over the story), and Antonina (just moving from
Literary Classics Book Awards & Reviews
Sal Scaviano is a teenaged boy growing up during the days of prohibition. His family hails from Italy and has settled in a town called Freedom. Their life in the new country represents all his family has worked and sacrificed for to offer hope for a greater future. The Scavianos have worked hard to grow their small farming business. They are not wealthy, in fact, at times they've had to do without. But they have earned the respect of those in their community and in their field of work.

One day S
Grant Leishman
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
Reviewed For Readers' Favorite by Grant Leishman

The Other Side if Freedom by Cynthia T Toney takes us back to 1925, pre-depression Louisiana and the small town of Freedom. Salvatore is just thirteen, but this son of Italian immigrants is a hard-working farm boy, whose parents and Uncle have struggled to make a good life for themselves in this rural area. Prohibition is in full swing in America and when Italian mobsters come to town and demand Sal’s father’s help in their plans to rob the Freedo
Michelle Kaderly Welsh
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 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 righ
Glenn Haggerty
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mobsters in the roaring 20s with a southern country turn. The Other Side of Freedom provides suspense and tension throughout with interesting and ethnically diverse characters. Sal has a moral dilemma, tell the truth and maybe prevent the mobsters from more robbing and murdering, or obey your parents and protect your innocent father from going to jail. The relational twist at the end also made for a satisfying read.
David Naiman
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Exploring ethnic and racial discrimination, burgeoning sexuality, violent intimidation, and family cohesion, The Other Side of Freedom makes for compelling historical fiction. Sal, the young protagonist, is faced with a series of moral dilemmas and his actions or inactions have potentially dire consequences. Readers young and old will enjoy the relentless plot, eclectic characters, and high stakes.
Dec 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Delightful Glimpse into a Different Era

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres and the Roaring Twenties a fascinating era.
The time of Prohibition, mobsters, and segregation was a complicated time.
This story of prejudice and justice is beautifully told through the eyes of thirteen-year-old Sal, a first generation Italian boy. It’s both exciting and thought provoking for both young adults and fully grown ones.
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m not a YA reader, but I knew I needed the experience. I’m glad this was my first venture into one after nearly six decades. Toney writes a captivating story with great imagery and character interplay. I started off with some skepticism because of the cemetery description in the beginning. She mentions paint chips and tombstones blackened even though they were but a few years old. Earlier we were told the immigrant family lived near the Illinois Central Railroad. I wrongly assumed they were in ...more
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Cynthia chose to write for young people to show them how wonderful, powerful, and valuable they are. She creates complex characters and twisty plots—because life is complicated. Ask any teen! Her stories address issues that young people face today, but they are full of hope and laced with humor. Her characters are diverse in culture and ethnicity and include deaf and Jewish teens.

Cynthia's contem

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