Molly Ayer, an orphan who lives with a foster family in Spruce Harbor, Maine, doesn’t feel like she’s wanted. She feels out of place among the kids at school, and with her foster parents at home. When she steals a book from the library, she’s told to do twenty hours of community service for repentance, and is assigned to Vivian Daly, a rich ninety-year-old woman who wants help sorting out her attic.
Molly expects it to be a tedious task, but when Vivian begins reminiscing about her childhood, Molly learns about interesting pieces of history. Vivian was an orphan too. She was sent away from New York on one of the trains which distributed city orphans to families in the countryside who wanted a child, or simply an extra pair of hands. It’s a piece of history Molly has never heard about before—one that has shaped Vivian’s life.
Orphan Train Girl was an interesting book, teaching a piece of history I didn’t know much about. The story alternated from past to present—between Molly and a younger Vivian—and in doing so, Christina Baker Cline narrated the stories of two different orphans in two different situations who were both searching for acceptance. I would recommend Orphan Train Girl to readers ages nine and up.