Friday, December 21, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: ORPHAN TRAIN by Christina Baker Kline

Christina Baker Kline
William Morrow
Historical Fiction

Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse...

As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life—answers that will ultimately free them both.


Delightful tale of two orphans: Molly, a 17-year-old girl unhappy in her foster care home, and Dorothy, a young girl transported by train to Minnesota in 1929. When Molly takes on the task of "cleaning out" a 90-year-old woman's attic, she instead discovers a fascinating and often heartbreaking tale of a life full of tragedy, trials, and even some joys. Molly helps the old woman, Vivian, face her past, while Vivian helps Molly repair her present.

Orphan Train is written in simple, clear language, yet the stories of Molly and Vivian are so compelling that I was completely hooked from page one. The setting and voice alternate between Molly in present-day and Vivian/Dorothy from 1929-1943. While sometimes in books that alternate narrators, I tend to want to skip chapters, I fell in love equally with both stories. They were woven together so beautifully, and though the ending is a tad expected, it is a happy ending that it made me want to read the book all over again.  Highly recommended!


Profanity: High (some "F" bombs)
Sexuality: Moderate (describes attempted molestation)
Violence: Mild

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