The Orphan of Torundi
By: J.L. McCreedy
I received an ARC (Advance Review Copy) of this book from http://www.librarything.com in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Sam is an orphan who has spent the first 17 years of her life living in the remote jungle island of Torundi. She lives and works at GMS, a pharmaceutical research mission. Her life is not glamorous and is filled with hard work, but she loves it.
Sam loves helping out in the medical clinic and taking care of the locals when they get sick. She even helps make the soap they use and all her clothes are donated items, but she is happy and wouldn’t have it any other way.
One day while collecting flowers in the jungle to place on her mother’s grave she is saved from a leopard attack by a mysterious foreigner. But, when the Dyeens (locals) return to the site to look for him, he has vanished without a trace.
After her harrowing encounter with the leopard, she is sent away to a boarding school in Malaysia. The students are all the children of either affluent business people or missionaries and Sam feels extremely out of place.
She does not understand why she has been sent away. she is both confused and heartbroken. Her heart’s desire is to return to Torundi.
When she once again comes across the mysterious stranger from the jungle, she wonders if she is imagining it. And, if it really is him, what is he doing in Malaysia? Is it a strange coincidence? Or did he follow her? And if so, why?
She sets out to discover what is really happening.
What she discovers will rock her world and threaten not only her life, but the lives of everyone on her beloved island of Torundi.
Secrets, lies, betrayal, romance and adventure abound as Sam gets caught up in a deception going back decades.
This all leads up to a stunning conclusion that sets the stage for a second book.
The exotic locales in the story are described in such lush and vivid detail that it is easy for the reader to picture themselves there.
The descriptions make you feel as if you are really seeing the jungle and you can almost feel the tropical heat and humidity radiate out from the page.
The settings are further enhanced by the wonderful details of the exotic local foods. At one point Sam eats her favorite breakfast which consists of: “sticky rice topped with crushed peanuts, shredded coconut and dark palm syrup.” The description is enough to make the reader’s mouth water.
What I Liked About This Book:
The author has done an amazing job of capturing the feeling of being a teenager and feeling that you don’t belong. Every teenager feels this way at some point, even those who don’t admit it.
Also, although this book is geared toward young adult readers, it does not read like “young” fiction. The ideas and problems that Sam faces are much bigger than just worrying about what to wear to the prom.
The themes of big business and the destruction of natural resources for monetary gain will resonate with everyone who cares about our planet’s future. Sam’s struggle to save the place and the people she loves may be fiction, but similar situations arise all the time in the real world. Our world’s remote locations are being discovered and are being stripped for their resources without a thought to what the long term consequences might be to our world.
I also loved the fact that the book takes many unexpected twists and turns, keeping the reader guessing until the very end.
Favorite Quotes From The Book:
“There is something about the dark that changes how you consider things. It heightens your perceptions, certainly, but it’s more than that too. There is something about the dark that makes you face all those things that you don’t want to face, makes you realize that those things are real – maybe more real than everything else…”
“We all put on facades…Anyone who claims to the contrary is lying – to themselves or to everyone else.”
This is nothing short of a wonderful read. It fully deserves a rating of 5 out of 5 stars.
The pace of the book is perfect. The story moves along at exactly the right speed and readers will not want to put the book down.
The characters are detailed and believable. The settings are lush and exotic. The mystery is intriguing. The plot is complex and ultimately believable. In short, this is a perfect book. It contains everything I look for in a good story. I am now a fan of J.L. McCreedy and hope to read more books by this author in the near future.
I look forward to hearing comments about my reviews and my ultimate goal is to help people “separate the wheat from the chaff” in the world of fiction.
With so many books on the market, it is my hope that I can help other readers to spend their book money wisely. This book is definitely worth buying.
The Orphan of Torundi can be purchased online at: