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Orphan Island Hardcover – May 30, 2017

3.8 out of 5 stars 188 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 3–6—The sound of the bell that signals the boat's arrival fills Jinny with dread. The boat comes yearly, bringing the new youngest child to the island and taking away the oldest, thus preserving the island's status quo. "Nine on an island, orphans all, any more the sky might fall." This particular bell means the departure of Jinny's best friend, Deen, making Jinny the unwilling new Elder and the newest arrival her responsibility. The island has everything the children need: plentiful fish, nuts, berries, and beehives for honey. There are cabins for sleeping, a supply of clothing, and worn books to read. Even the animals are friendly. Everything is idyllic as long as the rules are followed. When Jinny blatantly breaches a cardinal rule, the island's natural order is upset and everything begins to change. The children's once benevolent home ceases to provide for them and protect them. Jinny knows she is to blame and does the only thing she can think of to fix their broken world. The premise is intriguing, the writing is strong, and the tight pacing will keep readers fully engaged. For those looking for satisfying answers, however, no explanation is ever given for the adultless island, where the boats come from, or what force holds the island together. Why were the children sent to the island in the first place? Where do they go when they leave? For the philosophically inclined, the unanswered questions offer much to ponder and discuss. For more literal-minded young readers, the story is apt to feel unfinished. Here's hoping a sequel is in the works. VERDICT A good purchase for readers who are interested in dystopian landscapes but aren't ready for the heavier and more violent themes often found in the genre.—Kelly Roth, Bartow County Public Library, Cartersville, GA

Review

★ “Through the precocious Jinny, Snyder delivers a contemplative commentary on the transition from childhood to adolescence, and from ignorance to awareness.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“Laurel Snyder has written a story that curls around the heart and pulls in tight—a meditation on the power and wisdom and closeness and sorrow of childhood. A wondrous book, wise and wild and deeply true. I loved every second of it.” (Kelly Barnhill, Newbery Medal-winning author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon)

“An elegant and thoughtful meditation on the joys and sorrows of growing up, with lyrical prose, characters that feel as alive as your dearest friends, and a vivid setting sure to enchant young readers. A work of extraordinary heart.” (Claire Legrand, author of Some Kind of Happiness)

“A visionary, poignant, astonishingly lovely fable of childhood and change. This is a book to lose yourself in, and to never forget.” (Anne Ursu, author of The Real Boy)

“Orphan Island is a masterpiece—both timeless and immediate. Snyder’s book, like the island within it, contains all of the joys, wonders, and terrors of childhood. Every young reader needs this book; every grown reader needs it even more.” (Jonathan Auxier, New York Times bestselling author of The Night Gardener)

This charming, engrossing tale set in a vividly realized world is expertly paced and will appeal to fans of wilderness adventure stories and character-driven relationship novels alike. (Kirkus Reviews)

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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5
188 customer ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on August 1, 2018
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Top international reviews

Fellwalker
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 30, 2019
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Froschkönigin
4.0 out of 5 stars Rätselhafte Insel der Kinder
Reviewed in Germany on April 25, 2018
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Dennis Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Reading stimulus
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Bevin Avlier
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, arrived quickly
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