This story is so full of the best kind of imagery. It takes hold of you on page one and doesn’t let go until the end. It’s the kind of book that I had to let stay in my mind for awhile before starting a new book. On an island, in the middle of the ocean, nine orphans live together. The island’s beginnings are a mystery, but the island protects the children, providing all they need. Each year, a small boat arrives to take the oldest child (the Elder) away and to bring the newest, youngest child ashore. The next oldest child then becomes the new Elder and is in charge of the new arrival, their Care. This is how it’s always been and how it always will be. I was worried that this would somehow fall into the Lord of the Flies somehow and spent the first few chapters dreading when things would go south. (Spoiler: It doesn’t. Whew.) What it does do is give you a warm, cozy feeling all while recognizing that growing up is full of uncertainties whether you live on an island or not. I highly recommend this book for middle graders.
I read a DRC of this book in exchange for an honest review.