Thursday, June 15, 2017

Orphan Train Girl

34126019Kline, Christina Baker. Orphan Train Girl
May 2nd 2017 by HarperCollins
ARC from publisher at ALA

Molly is in foster care and runs into trouble when she steals The Secret Garden from the library. She has to perform 20 hours of community service, and her friend Jack's mother makes it possible for her to work with an elderly woman, Vivian, cleaning out her attic. There, she realizes that Vivian has a background similar to her own. In alternating stories, we hear the story of Vivian's life, going from Ireland, to a city apartment where a fire kills her parents, to a series of poor placements where she is neglected but eventually finds the care she needs. We also hear about Molly's struggles, and how the two form a bond.
Strengths: This was a well constructed story that moved along quickly. Both stories were realistic and believable, and I appreciated that while Vivian (Niamh/Dorothy) struggled in bad situations, they weren't too horrible. Molly's situation was understandable as well. The bond between the two was sweet.
Weaknesses: Perhaps because this is a young readers' edition, some of the writing felt stilted. I'm half tempted to pick up the original version.
What I really think: I may purchase. There are a lot of orphan train stories, but this one has the added interest of having a modern character in foster care, and that may encourage readers to pick this book up. The story was intriguing, even if the writing style was a bit odd.

Inexplicably, one of our high schools has the adult version of this book assigned for Honors English summer reading. Sigh.
Ms. Yingling

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