Forever Young (Children of Eternity #1)
by Claire Lachance
Did you ever watch that M. Night Whatshisface movie "The Village?" Neither did I, but there is somewhat of a similar premise involved in Forever Young by Claire Lachance. Maybe also a little of Tuck Everlasting or something too; it's been a while since I read that.
Anyway, the story begins with a 10-year-old girl washing up on an island. When she wakes up, she has no idea who she is or how she came to be on the island. The kindly Miss Brigham gives the girl the name Samantha Young. Why that and not Jane Doe? Hurm...
Once Samantha is able to get up and around, she notices something very strange about the island. There are about 50 other children but only three adults: Miss Brigham, the nasty Mr. Pryde, and the head man Reverend Crane. The children do most of the work on the island to grow food, take care of the livestock, cut firewood, and so forth. Their technology is pretty much on par with the Amish, with no boats no phones no motorcars--not a single luxury. That seems odd to Samantha, but she can't understand why at first.
Samantha quickly makes friends with Prudence, a shy fat girl who handles all of the island's sewing. Prudence helps Samantha understand the strict code everyone lives under, called The Way by Reverend Crane. Try as she might, Samantha can't seem to avoid getting into trouble with the reverend and his rules. Making things tougher is that Samantha is the only one on the island with darker skin, making her an immediate target for bullying, at least until she fights back using kung-fu skills she didn't know she possessed.
As time goes by, Samantha begins to remember some things, aided by a stash of books she uncovers. This helps her to see that there's something not quite kosher about Reverend Crane or what he's doing on the island. But what's his secret? Hurm...
Anyway, this is a pretty short book that moves along at a good clip. Since a reverend is the bad guy it's probably not for devout religious people, which was fine with me. The writing is nothing special, but there aren't too many errors, which is always good. And even though she's only 10, Samantha kicks a lot more ass than Bella Swan. And hey, it's only 99 cents so even if you don't like it, you're not out a lot. I'm just saying.