“Nine on an island, orphans all, Any more, the sky might fall.”
An idyllic island is home to nine orphans, each one year apart in age. Every year, a boat delivers a small child who is about 5 years old. Then the oldest on the island is expected to hop in the boat to leave the island. This ensures there will always be nine on the island. The new oldest is the Elder and takes charge of the new arrival. Jinny’s close friend, Deen, is the recent Elder who leaves the island despite her pleas for him to stay. Jenny is now the Elder and takes small Ess under her wing to teach her the ways of the island. She has a year with her Charge to teach her how to read, swim, hunt, prepare food, and all the tasks required to survive on the peaceful island.
The children all get along quite nicely and they thrive. They don’t question why they are there or ponder life beyond the island. However, during Jinny’s Elder year, she does begin to question the meaning of it all. As her time draws close to leave the island, the boat arrives with a screaming young boy, Loo. But Jinny refuses to get in the boat and decides to stay and continue her reign as Elder depriving Ben, next in line, of the role.
A lyrical book for the thoughtful reader, Orphan Island describes an island that would be a lovely place to visit. The island cares and provides for the children – as long as all is in balance. When Jinny decides to stay, she makes the self-absorbed and head strong decision that affects all of them. We see her change and question her actions and by doing so, grow as a person. An excellent read for the gentle reader. Highly recommend.
eGalley review Publication date 5.30.17