Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
(William Morrow, 2014, 288 pages)
Orphan Train is the story of a teenage girl named Molly who lost her parents at a young age and has been passed from one foster home to the next. She is now seventeen and if she can make it to her eighteenth birthday without any mishaps, she will become a legal adult and free from anymore foster homes. One day she is in the library and runs across one of her favorite books. She sees that there are several copies and notices one of the books is in less than perfect condition. Molly decides that no one would even notice if it went missing. Much to her surprise she was wrong. Now she must do fifty hours of community service or serve time in juvenile detention. Her friend sets her up with a ninety-one year-old woman named Vivian who needs help cleaning out her attic. As it turns out, Molly and Vivian have way more in common than either one of them could have imagined.
Before reading this book I was not aware that the orphan train even existed. Even though it is a fictional book, Christina Baker Kline does a wonderful job of bringing to life facts about the train and the children it carried. She developed the main characters, Molly and Vivian, in a way that made it easy to fall in love with them. She also does such a beautiful job of intertwining the past and present stories of the two women and ultimately their unlikely friendship.
This book gives hope for lives that are filled with loss, rejection, poverty, and loneliness, that there is always a possibility of acceptance, perseverance, love of a family, and finding peace. Orphan Train is a quick historical read but the characters, along with their stories, will not soon be forgotten.