Thursday, January 29, 2015

Book Review: The Orphan of Torundi by J.L. McCreedy

The Orphan of Torundi, by J.L. McCreedy
2014, 300p, YA Suspense
My Rating=4.5 Stars
Source: Received a copy for an honest review

To find the truth, she must first uncover the lie ….

Orphaned as an infant, Sam is raised by a pharmaceutical research mission in the rain forests of Torundi. She wields a mean machete, makes soap from candlenuts and is a fairly astute amateur entomologist. You know, the normal stuff. But a month before her seventeenth birthday, she is exiled to an American boarding school in Malaysia.

Armed with little more than her unusual upbringing and church-lady clothes, Sam must contend with her new existence as the world's most socially unprepared high school senior. Well that’s just fine. Because she is determined to solve the mystery behind her banishment and return home tout de suite.

But when she discovers the unthinkable – that her banishment is tied to an enigmatic corporation with illicit designs on Torundi – she realizes the real mystery she must uncover is ... why? Soon, Sam is caught in a whirlwind of intrigue, danger and greed. As she chases this thread of truth to its end, she unravels a plot that threatens her beloved Torundi, her trust in the boy she has grown to love and her own existence.

Blending espionage elements akin to The Bourne Identity with those high-school-awkward-moments (hey, it could happen), THE ORPHAN OF TORUNDI is a quirky, cross-cultural tale of adventure, suspense and romance.

This book started out slow to me, but once it started to pick up, WOW! Sam is an orphan who was raised by Dr. Jean, a mission worker who also runs the medical clinic. She also helps him in the clinic and feels needed. An incident involving a foreigner and a leopard changes her life and she has no idea why. Shortly after that she is sent to an international American boarding school in Malaysia and it's presented to her as the opportunity of a lifetime. She feels banished, though, and spends most of the book trying to figure out why. She meets someone at her new school who can help shed light on her situation but he's reluctant to let her know too much. 

Sam is likable from the beginning. She's naive and I loved watching her grow up and mature throughout the book. Once she was sent away to school, she had to adjust to a new life around other teens and I enjoyed her interactions with them. There are secrets to uncover and I liked getting small bits of information which was just enough to keep me wanting more. There's also some romance, action, spies, drama and twists which kept me guessing at how it would end.  

This book is well written. I felt like I was transported to Torundi and Malaysia and I wasn't surprised to learn that the author is an extensive traveler. I kept wondering how this book would end and I loved it! Questions were answered but new ones arose so I'm hoping there will be more to Sam's story! 

J.L. McCreedy is a shoe-string traveler, a street food fanatic and a (confused) attorney who prefers writing stories over legal briefs. She is also the author of LIBERTY FRYE AND THE WITCHES OF HESSEN and THE ORPHAN OF TORUNDI.


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