The Orphan of Torundi
By J.L. McCreedy
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.
My rating: 4/5
**I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.**
Half the time I request books from netgalley, I forget the synopsis and why I found it so interesting to begin with. The other half I get rejected so it doesn't matter anyway! When I was approved the orphan of torundi I couldn't remember what the book was about and I didn't want to read the synopsis to spoil it either.
Surprisingly witty with an interesting storyline, this author is one to watch out for. Sam is a funny character, she's so out of her element when she's forced to move to a new place; living all your life in a town in the wilderness probably does that to people. What I found surprising was how much she missed her home, Torundi. She's not used to the hustle and bustle of an urban town/city and despite her poorer lifestyle, she misses the simplicity and the peace of her home, and plans to find a way back. Her down to earth and often crazed philosophy was refreshing to read. She's definitely not like other female protagonists!
Although the chemistry between Sam and Gabe felt real, I couldn't help but think that Sam fell for him way too quickly and deeply. It's like what Gajendra says to her; she feels too much. At the same time it makes sense, in this foreign place Gabe is the only connection she has to home and the only one that appears to understand her. I felt pretty bad for her new friends though, because Sam ignores them for most of the story. They make a constant effort to involve her and she always finds a way to disappear, which was funny too.
The twists at the ending shocked me but I won't reveal any spoilers here, although I did think that There were too many surprises to keep up with. One aspect I didn't enjoy was when Gabe explain his backstory, I don't know why but all the names and the people were very confusing. I understand why Sam panicked and felt like she was being bombarded with life altering information.
Overall, i enjoyed this read. It had a good mix of humour, twists and interesting characters to make me continue to turn the pages.
It seems impossible to be transplanted so efficiently from one's idyllic island to this place. There should be a law against it, or at least guidelines. Even goldfish get acclimated first.
"Are you really a Samuel?" she whispers.
"Oh, good grief, EJ, I'm NOT a boy!"
"Agreed!" says Mr Krikorian, but he looks confused.
"This is going to be epic!" Caleb says.
I try my best to match his enthusiasm as we push the behemoth into the warm, lapping tide. But I wonder if he realizes that in actual epics...people tend to die.
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 inside that you don't want to face, makes you realize those things are real - maybe more real than everything else - and that they're not going away.
I cross my legs in front of me and try to ignore the pain in my joints. Everything aches. I am hungry. I am tired. I am really, really grumpy. And for reasons that make perfect sense to me at the moment, all of this is his fault.
"I'm swimming in that dark, deep ocean, and there's a light, a glow so beautiful it can't seem real, but I'm swimming toward it anyway."
I am alone. Most people get some kind of choice, don't they? Most people can choose one thing or another; like conformity or individuality, safety or adventure, love or money, career or family. Isn't that how it works? Mine was all or nothing, and I didn't even get to choose.