Jinny is one of nine kids on Orphan Island where each year, the oldest leaves the island when a green boat magically appears with a new child to take his or her place. The nine children on the island are each about a year apart, and life on the island is idyllic. They eat together and read stories around the fire. There are rules and chores, and for the most part, the children get along. So of course, Jinny doesn’t want to go when the boat comes for her.
The plot moves along carefully, and it’s pretty much the opposite of the TV show Lost, where all of the characters want to leave the island. Much like childhood itself, these orphans don’t want to leave. By the end, much is also left unanswered about why these children are here and how the boat knows when to come, but it’s a lot like life, in that sense, when we can’t really explain the past and we don’t know what the future holds, we focus on the present, and doing what’s right for those around us. Laurel Snyder weaves an intricate and compelling story that invites discussion.