Josephine's Reviews > Orphan Eleven

Orphan Eleven by Gennifer Choldenko
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it was amazing
bookshelves: msbob-nominated-2021

Gennifer Choldenko is the master of unique storylines for middle school readers. I had no idea what it expect. It looked like a book about a circus but the title suggested an orphanage. Well it is about both, but mainly about family, love and loyalty.

A lot of horrible things happened during this time in history. Orphan Eleven is set in 1939. Without revealing a spoiler, I continue to be appalled at the way children were used as expendable guinea pigs for unethical human experimentation.


The story is about 4 orphans who have escaped from the Home for Friendless Children. One is Lucy, who USED to talk and sing. So what changed for a Lucy?

The orphans find work and new friends at a traveling circus. Lucy loves caring for the elephants, and the elephants have taken to her. But, the selfish and unkind orphan matrons are searching for Lucy, and her puzzling past is about to catch up with her.

The story began a little slowly for me, but as the plot began to unfold, the story became fascinating and thrilling. There are so many people to pull for in this story and those you just want to smack!

Put this on on your list, 2021 Newbery Committee.

Thank you Netgally and Random House Children’s Books for granting me the privilege to read the ARC by this remarkable author.
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Reading Progress

February 7, 2020 – Started Reading
February 7, 2020 – Shelved
February 9, 2020 –
page 6
1.88% "I love the “Dear Reader” prologue."
February 10, 2020 –
page 150
46.88% "I suddenly know the meaning of a Orphan Eleven. Didn’t foresee that!"
February 11, 2020 – Shelved as: msbob-nominated-2021
February 11, 2020 – Finished Reading

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