Orphan Train Girl

240p. HarperCollins. May 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062445940.
Gr 4–6—Molly is a product of the foster care system and has spent most of her young life being shunted from one family to another. After stealing a copy of The Secret Garden from the public library, she is assigned community service: cleaning out the attic of the elderly, well-to-do Vivian Daly. The attic is full of mementos from Vivian's girlhood. As the two unpack boxes, Vivian shares her memories with Molly. Born Niamh (Neeve), Vivian first came to New York City in 1929 from Ireland. Not long after, Niamh's parents perished in a tragic fire, and she was transported with other orphans on a train bound for the Midwest to work for families in need of an extra pair of hands. After two unsuccessful placements, Niamh finally found a loving family. Molly comes to realize that she and Vivian share a lot in common. Molly, who is Penobscot Indian on her father's side, was raised on a reservation. After her father died in a car crash, her mother could no longer care for her properly, and she was forced to enter the foster care system. Kline expertly weaves the dual narratives of both Molly and Vivian as the two form a healing friendship.
VERDICT With a mix of historical and contemporary settings, this successful adaptation of an adult novel is likely to appeal to both young and old.

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