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Book Buzz – October

by Malena Lott

The Orphan Train Spotlights a Dark History in the U.S.

While Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is a novel, it’s based on the circumstances of thousands of children who rode the orphan trains carrying mostly immigrants from the east coast to rural areas in the Midwest in the 1800s and early 1900s.

Not only had I not heard of this (not something they’d teach you in school), but I was immediately emotionally invested in the dual story lines of a modern-day foster child, Molly, and the rich widow Vivian with whom she was helping clean out the attic for community service.

The book is told in alternating points of view between the two girls – Molly is in present day and Vivian is from the past as a child being passed from foster home to foster home.

Beautifully written and immensely engaging, Orphan Train is a must-read for fans of historical fiction and women’s fiction, though it certainly fits in the literary category, too.

I’d heard great buzz on Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life, and without having read a single review, picked it up and was blown away by her prose and intrigued by the imaginative storyline. It’s a literary circular tale of Ursala, a girl born and re-born into the same family, changing her life in big ways and small due to an innate knowing that leads her to do things that sometimes get her into trouble.

While the book is long (and heavy if you read it in hardback), if you love Atkinson’s writing, you can plow through the book despite its length or deja vu aspect you will surely feel as some chapters seem eerily close to the ones that came before it with the exception of ever-so-slight changes.

A story of the impact of family and fate brings new life into the reincarnation theme. A lesser writer could likely not have done it justice. My recommendation is not to read any reviews online, which are full of spoilers. I likely would not have bothered reading the book if I had read those first. The true joy is in the discovery.

Buzz Round Up:

BuzzTeen continues to add more Mythology High tales in the series with the addition of the Mirror/Mirror trilogy by Diana Rodriguez Wallach with three separate Narcissus, Nemesis short stories that will come together in one trilogy in December. October is full of frightful fun with the release of Kelly Parra’s Supernatural Hunters, Jenny Peterson’s Creature Discomforts in the Descendants series and Aaron Smith’s zombie novel, Chicago Fell First.

Malena Lott is an author and the executive editor at Buzz Books USA. Her latest women’s fiction novel, Family Charms, was published in summer 2013 . Connect with her at and and on Facebook at

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