Molly's just received 50 hours of community service for stealing a library book (the horror!), and life with her foster family is on shaky ground. When her boyfriend, Jack, gives her the opportunity to serve her hours by helping his mom's elderly boss, Vivian Daly, clean out her closet, Molly reluctantly agrees. It's better than going to juvie. Molly find Vivian strange and surprising, most especially because she wants to go through every box, but she never throws anything away. As Molly spends more time with Vivian, she begins to realize that Vivian's life has not always been glamorous, and that the two of them have a shocking number of experiences in common.
Why It's Worth Reading:
Oh, how I love to be entertained and learn at the same time! It's the best thing about historical fiction! Orphan Train is a perfect example. I loved the characters in the story and felt fully connected to them as they struggled and endured great challenges in their different, but very connected, lives. The story-telling had all of the appeal of any great novel. And still, while I was reading about Vivian's life, sympathizing with each step in her path, my eyes were opening to an entirely new historical event of which I was previously not aware. For decades, the United States rounded up orphaned children in the bustling East Coast metropolis' and sent them by train into the heartland to find new families, or in many cases, lives of indentured servitude. I'm slightly embarrassed to admit I knew nothing about this part of American history. What a fascinating phenomenon! If you have any interest in learning more about the time period, pick up this book. It's short, it's engaging, and you'll learn without even trying!
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: April 2, 2013
Fun Fact: This was MeLCat's most requested title in 2014! It's been a top book club pick for the last two years.
Do We Own a Copy?: Several copies are on order, and I'm going to recommend that this book be added to the U.S. History supplementary reading list.