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Monday, August 4, 2014

Book Review: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

This is the summer of reading for me.  I love to read, but I don't always set aside time.  This year, the kids joined the summer reading program at the local library, and I joined the program for adults.  I've read a lot of books this summer, and the kids have seen me read.  Now they are reading more, and I've seen a big improvement in my daughter.  She was reading beginning chapter books at the start of summer and just finished The Secret Garden!  She's highly motivated by the little prizes the library offers, so she's been working very hard to meet her goals.

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Last month, I chose the book The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline because it was recommended by many other bloggers.  It's a best seller right now, so I figured it must be good.  I had read some deep, dark books right before reading it, so I was looking forward to a lighter read.

Orphan Train follows Molly, a teenager who will soon age out of the foster care system without ever finding a family of her own.  When Molly gets in trouble at the local library, she must perform community service.  A elderly woman, Vivian,  Molly help her clean her home for the hours.  At first, Molly is less than thrilled about spending so many hours with a woman who couldn't be more different than her.  

Molly quickly realizes that her and Vivian are more alike than they are different.  While sorting through the many, may boxes of artifacts, Molly learns Vivian's story.  

Vivian was orphaned in New York City as a child, where she was set out west on the Orphan Train in hopes of finding a forever family.  Vivian recalls the story behind her possessions and details the families she lived with, the abuse she suffered, and finally a happier ending.

While hearing Vivian's story, Molly learns a great deal about herself and how to cope with her life.  Vivian had some unanswered questions about her past, and Molly helps her find the answers and get closure.  

Molly and Vivian are an unlikely pair, the elderly Irish woman and the pierced teenager, but together they learn how to cope, how to heal, and how to move forward.    

Orphan Train is available from Amazon in hardcover, paperback, Kindle, and audio book.  Don't have a Kindle?  Download the app for your iPad and more devices!