Orphan Train

Orphan Train

Book - 2013
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"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. Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are."--from publisher's description
Publisher: New York : William Morrow, c2013.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780061950728
Branch Call Number: KLINE C
Characteristics: 278, 16 p. ; 21 cm.


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Librarian_Deb Aug 28, 2017

Two stories intertwine in this novel that examines the lives of those who are orphaned or separated from their parents and put into "the system". For Molly that system is foster care, where she barely tolerates the people that she lives with. A minor theft (of a library book) lands Moll... Read More »

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Librarian_Deb Aug 28, 2017

Two stories intertwine in this novel that examines the lives of those who are orphaned or separated from their parents and put into "the system". For Molly that system is foster care, where she barely tolerates the people that she lives with. A minor theft (of a library book) lands Molly into legal trouble and she finds herself having to do a community service project. Enter Vivian, a senior citizen with an attic that needs to be cleaned out and a past full of things that she never talks about. Vivian's past includes her experiences as an orphan train rider - where after being orphaned in New York City she was sent on a train out west to be placed with a "wholesome" family. As Molly helps Vivian go through her things both women gradually open up to each other which allows the reader to experience several flashbacks where Vivian tells her story. These parts of the book were my favorites. Vivian encountered some shocking living conditions and people while growing up and I kept reading to see how one earth she was ever going to survive and thrive the many obstacles placed in her path. I definitely found her story more compelling than Molly's, but it was intriguing to have the contrast between how Vivian's situation was handled in the past and how Molly's was being handled in the modern day. That contrast became a focal point for discussion in my book group, so it does add a lot to the book. I definitely recommend this book to fans of historical fiction, particularly if they enjoy stories of young people navigating difficult waters to become successful adults.

Aug 25, 2017

Another bit of history revealed in a very readable tale. If you've been to the lower east side of Manhattan and visited the Tenement Museum (something everyone should do) the bookwill take on even more meaning regarding the struggles of immigrants coming to our country still today.

Aug 24, 2017

A teenage girl recently kicked out of her orphanage home helps an elderly woman for community service, which helps keep her afoot. As they spend more time with each other both Vivian, the girl, and Molly, the old woman, realize that they have more in common than they thought. This historical drama shows a bonding between two very tragic characters, from the author Christina Baker Kline, an unlikely friendship is born. This book is amazing, but it was very cliche, the parents were typically abusive and Vivian doesn't particularly seem like a problem child, and the old lady is of course the exact same as the protagonist.
- @Florence of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

Aug 22, 2017

Heart warming book. Enjoyed seeing the relationships unfurl. Ended too soon. Almost want to read again.

Feb 16, 2017

Easy fast read of this historical fiction book. Love the story of friendship and the study of how people grow and change.

ehbooklover Feb 14, 2017

This was a reread for an upcoming book club meeting. I loved it just as much this time around! My original review from 2015: An amazing story of adversity and resilience that is based on an actual historical event. I admit that I had no knowledge of the use of Orphan Trains and reading this book was a very eye-opening experience for me. I really loved the two main characters and the way their lives intersected to create a wonderfully unique and unexpected friendship and because of that I didn't want this book to end.

Lilac_Summer Nov 02, 2016

Enjoyed the historical content

Sep 21, 2016

Orphan Train felt like a very crafted book. It is among a group of books where alternating stories of the past and present are woven together, and end on a hopeful note.

The historical section involving the story of the Orphan Train was more successful to me. The background story for Vivian and her journey were more compelling than Molly, the present day protagonist. Her story did not feel true to me, but I am far from a teenager at this point in my life. If the author had given a more general backstory on the present day plight of some Native Americans, the comparison would have held together for me in a better way. The theme of outsiders was evident, but in the end, I never felt attached to either of the main characters.

This book seems very suitable for young adult readers, as the teenage years are so much a search for identity and belonging. The language is simple and the stories lend themselves to a compare and contrast discussion.

If you found this book your cup of tea, you will also enjoy A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner.

Sep 18, 2016

Very touching, and I like the two-story arc which follows two orphans born in different times, comparing similarities and differences in their experiences. Very well-written and researched.

Sep 17, 2016

A wonderful story of friendship that grows from unexpected unions, Orphan Train is a must read for lovers of all fiction, especially historic.

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Jul 24, 2015

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Jun 22, 2013

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Jul 24, 2015

“I feel a joy so strong it’s almost painful—a knife’s edge of joy.”


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