Wanderville is the first in a new historical series for young readers. The book opens in the year 1904. Readers quickly meet a group of 'orphans' destined to head west to Kansas on the 'orphan train.' Jack is not an orphan. But his parents have decided to place him out. This decision, in part, is based on overwhelming grief. Jack's older brother died in a factory fire. Jack escaped death, but, he had to jump out an upper story window to do so. Readers also meet siblings Frances and Harold. These three children meet on the train. The children on the train have different reactions: some are excited and hopeful about the future, some are all nerves and worries. There have been rumors--horrifying rumors. So Jack, Frances, and Harold come to an agreement at some point during their ride, they will NOT stay on the train, they will not be placed out as orphans, they will not face the risks. So. They jump off the train, and, the three of them find a runaway orphan named Alexander. He is a DREAMER. In his mind, the nearby woods are a dream come true. Wanderville. A place where all children longing for freedom and independence find sanctuary....
But this 'free' life comes with risks of it own. Yes, the children are free from authority, but, they essentially survive by a combination of stealing and living off the land. Alexander is a persuasive talker, but, he's also a thief on the run from the law. (The sheriff of the town knows that something is going on.)
Wanderville is a quick read, and it's enjoyable enough. I can't say it was love. But it was entertaining enough for an afternoon's read.
© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews