By: Christina Baker Kline
Reviewer Rating: Four out of Five Stars
Best for: 16 and up
An eye-opening and moving story about a forgotten spot in American history
Review by Catina Haverlock
Between 1845 and 1929, more than 250,000 orphaned, abandoned and homeless children (mainly Irish immigrants) were scooped from the streets of New York and transported via train to new “families” in the Midwest, where they were essentially put on the auction block and often “adopted” by families who were looking for farm hands, housekeepers or nannies. Orphan Train is the story of a modern day orphan named Molly who has been shuffled among several foster homes and what happens when she meets 90-year-old Vivian, one of the original train riders.
I loved the way the author told a story of common ground between a 17-year-old orphan and one that rode the orphan trains over 70 years ago. I had no idea this part of American history existed and Kline did a thorough job of educating me while keeping me entertained and hooked. The story was also a sad but realistic look into what many modern day foster kids endure. The story was hard to read but tied things up in a hopeful and satisfying way. I’m really glad to have learned about this piece of our nation’s history. As with the holocaust, I want to acknowledge and grieve for the suffering of the innocents and ask myself how this knowledge can help me be more giving, aware and grateful. 4.5 Stars – not 5 because sometimes the pacing was a little slower than my 5 star reviews.
One semi-graphic scene of attempted sexual abuse of a minor by an adult. About 10 F-bombs, though most of those come near the climax of the book and they are definitely there for a reason. Some other profanity throughout the story, but it’s not consistent and like the F-bombs, appropriately placed.
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