Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder
Jinny doesn’t remember anything from before the island. She doesn’t even remember coming to the island or what her first year there was like. It has been her home, and the other children her family. But now Deen is leaving, and Jinny will the elder for her final year before it is her turn to go. She doesn’t understand how Deen can leave or how she’s supposed to care for Ess, the little girl who is replacing him. She does her best, but she had no idea how much there was to teach Ess about living on the island. Like not wearing shoes, how find food, the rules about gathering at the stars and not leaving your cabin at night. Most especially, Jinny doesn’t know how to explain to Ess that someday soon she will have to leave too. And she wonders what would happen if she decided not to. They all know the rhyme: “Nine on an island, orphans all. Any more, the sky might fall.” Is Jinny willing to take that risk to keep ahold of her home and family?
This beautiful tale, which has made the long list for the 2017 National Book Award, will keep you guessing about what happened before and what will happen next until the very end. Highly recommended for fans of fantasy and survival stories in middle school and up.
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