I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder
Published by Walden Pond Press on May 30th 2017
From acclaimed author Laurel Snyder comes a deep, compelling, heartbreaking, and completely one-of-a-kind novel about nine children who live on a mysterious island.
On the island, everything is perfect. The sun rises in a sky filled with dancing shapes; the wind, water, and trees shelter and protect those who live there; when the nine children go to sleep in their cabins, it is with full stomachs and joy in their hearts. And only one thing ever changes: on that day, each year, when a boat appears from the mist upon the ocean carrying one young child to join them—and taking the eldest one away, never to be seen again.
Today’s Changing is no different. The boat arrives, taking away Jinny’s best friend, Deen, replacing him with a new little girl named Ess, and leaving Jinny as the new Elder. Jinny knows her responsibility now—to teach Ess everything she needs to know about the island, to keep things as they’ve always been. But will she be ready for the inevitable day when the boat will come back—and take her away forever from the only home she’s known?
Jinny is one of nine children living on a mysterious island. Each year a new child arrives and the Eldest leaves on a green boat that mysteriously appears. When her best friend Deen leaves her, she becomes the Eldest and in charge of a little girl who knows nothing about the island rules. She must teach her before her own year is up and she must leave.
The island itself is quite mysterious. It seems like a fairy tale – where you can’t really be harmed such as a gust of wind will keep you from falling off a cliff. The problem is that there are rules with no reasons. Jinny starts to think about how she came to be there and who sent her. She has been dubbed selfish by others, especially when she decides not to leave. She knows the rhyme “Nine on an island, orphans all, any more, the sky might fall” yet she decides to stay.
The only problem I had with this book was all the unanswered questions. I’m not sure if there will be a sequel but I’m curious to know more. There’s a letter uncovered from one of the first children on the island, all of whom owned the books they read from – her notes within them.
Jinny is dealing with a lot in the book and really appreciate the honesty and imperfections of her character. She’s a bit selfish and bossy. She has to learn how to take care of a child while dealing with the loss of her friend. Not only that, but she struggles with teaching two of the three things she’s supposed to teach little Ess. The others try to help, but she resists at first, showing stubbornness.
I really enjoyed this book and learning about all the different characters. I still have so many questions, so there should be a follow up book… I hope…
Take me to this island – it seems lovely! I enjoyed the characters and setting but the plot left me with a lot of questions unanswered.
About the Author:
Laurel Snyder is a poet, essayist, and author of picture books and novels for children, including Orphan Island, Charlie and Mouse, Bigger than a Bread Box, and Swan, the Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova. She is also a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and a faculty member of Hamline University’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She lives in Atlanta with her family and can be found online at www.laurelsnyder.com.
Thanks to Walden Pond Press, one winner will win a finished copy of Orphan Island!
Ends May 31st.
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