Orphan Island

Orphan Island

Book - 2017 | First edition
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On the island, everything is perfect. The sun rises in a sky filled with dancing shapes; the wind, water, and trees shelter and protect those who live there; when the nine children go to sleep in their cabins, it is with full stomachs and joy in their hearts. And only one thing ever changes: on that day, each year, when a boat appears from the mist upon the ocean carrying one young child to join them—and taking the eldest one away, never to be seen again. Today’s Changing is no different. The boat arrives, taking away Jinny’s best friend, Deen, replacing him with a new little girl named Ess, and leaving Jinny as the new Elder. Jinny knows her responsibility now—to teach Ess everything she needs to know about the island, to keep things as they’ve always been. But will she be ready for the inevitable day when the boat will come back—and take her away forever from the only home she’s known?
Publisher: New York, NY : Walden Pond Press, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2017]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062443410 (hbk.)
0062443410 (hbk.)
Branch Call Number: J SNYDER
Characteristics: 269 pages : illustration ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

Each year, a new child comes to Orphan Island and the oldest one leaves, maintaining the idyllic island's balance - until Jinny breaks a primary rule. Unique and clearly envisioned characters populate this elegant, engrossing tale. Ages 8 - 12.

List - Children's Fantasy
KCLSKidsGenre Oct 22, 2013

Nine orphans live all alone on an island. As long as they follow a specific set of rules, the island provides food, shelter, and safety. But every year, a boat comes. A new child arrives and the oldest on the island must leave, not knowing what will happen. When Jinny’s turn comes and she refuses... Read More »

KCLS_RobinH Dec 04, 2017

This is a weird book, with an angsty protagonist who is difficult to like. I'd dub this 'Lost' for kids, but with a bit less violence, and all of the weird magic and lack of explanation for the premise.

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Jul 03, 2018


I love the mysteriousness in this book, of how you don't know where the orphans come from or where they go. I like the emotion in the book and how you can feel what their feeling. This book is definitely page-turning, I could have finished it in one day but..... I had school.

I recommend this book if you like mystery and adventure!

Apr 15, 2018


ArapahoeKati Feb 23, 2018

I liked the premise of the story but the execution (and ending) fell unexpectedly flat for me.

JCLChrisK Feb 12, 2018

I'm afraid I struggled to find the magic in this fable. Others I know who have read it have struggled to suspend their disbelief around its fableness--all the unanswered questions and mysteries about the context for the story, for its setting and greater world. That didn't bother me. What I wondered about was the internal world of the island, the interpersonal dynamics between the characters, their thoughts and motivations and emotions and reactions. Much of it just didn't feel quite authentic to me, and I couldn't connect with them. So many who've commented on this book have clearly found it magical. I would like to have had that experience with it. Instead, all I can offer is an interested appreciation. And a suggestion to try for yourself, because I don't know anyone who hasn't been provoked to some type of animated response.

mandaladreamer Feb 10, 2018

The other reviews give lots of details about the plot and characterization of this story, and it's true that it's well-written and fascinating. But the unanswered questions that build throughout the story demand that the conclusion will answer at least some of those questions, and that simply does not happen. Ultimately, this leaves the reader frustrated and unsatisfied. If you're going to introduce a cast of nine orphans, say something about why they are orphans and why they are sent to this place to grow up and then later magically sent back to where they came from. Finding a letter from a previous resident of the island should provide a clue about finding these answers, but no, that seems to be an isolated event and we are left completely in the dark. I definitely would not recommend this to a kid, because I think books for children should have a conclusion that makes some kind of sense even if it's set in an alternative kind of world. There was no hint that there would even be a sequel. It's one of those "throw it across the room when you're finished" books.

KCLS_RobinH Dec 04, 2017

This is a weird book, with an angsty protagonist who is difficult to like. I'd dub this 'Lost' for kids, but with a bit less violence, and all of the weird magic and lack of explanation for the premise.

Nov 14, 2017

I enjoyed this book but the end was really confusing and that is why my rating is 3 stars, but i like the simplicity as well as the characters. over all, this was a really good book

Oct 27, 2017

A very interesting story, but a bit slow for me to give it more than 3 stars. I was left with a lot of unanswered questions.

LPL_PolliK Sep 26, 2017

Currently long-listed for the National Book Award! Smart, compelling and deep fiction that happens to be classed in juvenile, but is a great read for everyone. On a beautiful island where one child is delivered each year while the eldest is taken away, nine children happily live under the leadership of new elder Jinny, who trains the latest newcomer and wonders what will happen when her own departure occurs. Thoughtful and beautiful, Synder's novel will become a classic.

Sep 16, 2017

This book is on several 2018 Newbery watch lists. I thought it was very interesting, but the ending is a cliff hanger. Will their be a sequel?

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Apr 15, 2018

H21415800 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Feb 09, 2018

booknrrd thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over


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