Jan 22, 2014

Recent Reads: The Orphanage of Miracles by Amy Neftzger

The Orphanage of Miracles by Amy Neftzger
Publisher: Fog Ink Publishing
Publication Date: November 12, 2013 (Paperback edition); May 28, 2013 (Hardback edition)

Format: Paperback
Source: Librarything Early Reviewers and Fog Ink
My Rating:

Goodreads Synopsis:
Perhaps everyone could use a miracle, but very few will find the one they truly need.

Amid a war torn land and hidden deep within an enchanted forest lays an orphanage where miracles abound. It’s a magical place created years ago by a resolute king who must defeat an evil sorcerer waging bitter war against his land and his people. He knew that in order to save his people, victory would require a miracle.

A young girl named Kelsey also desperately needs a miracle. She sets out on a quest to find the whispered-of orphanage. Along the way she’s joined by several traveling companions, including an over-sized snow leopard and a boy who cannot speak. In a land under a spell cast by the evil sorcerer, it's difficult to know the difference between what's real and what isn't … and what a true friend looks like. Join Kelsey and her companions as they embark on an extraordinary adventure and a quest unlike any other and take a peek inside The Orphanage of Miracles.

I won this Middle Grade book from Librarything Early Reviewers program, but I heard about it while I was at BEA in May and I was not really sure what to expect of it. I have seen that is has gotten some lower (3 star) reviews online and the back of the book did not have a synopsis, only this:

Perhaps everyone could use a miracle,
but very few will find the one they truly need.”

I happily grabbed this book off my shelf on a day I knew I would be spending in Panera to get some reading and blogging done and in front of the fireplace with a cup of coffee I dove in. I was whisked away by two enchanting and adorable stories of children: the first of an Orphanage and three orphans whose goal it is to make or catch a miracle, because that is what the orphanage does, it is in charge of miracles for the king; and the second or a girl on a journey to find a miracle for her starving village and family during wartime.

As the story progresses you learn many things, like to question how things are and why, how to have courage and take ownership of your misfortunes and misdeeds, to not fear death but embrace it, and that sometimes you need healing even when you do not realize it. The story is jam-packed with little messages to the reader about self-worth and loving others and how miracles can and do happen but only to those who allow themselves to share experiences with others.

Nicolas, Maggie, and Joven are the orphans that we follow at the Orphanage of Miracles. Nicolas is the soft-spoken, good with instructions (when he gets them), thoughtful one; Maggie, the aggressive, out-spoken, brass one; and Joven the intellectual one, who questions a lot. They are moved from ‘job’ to ‘job’ at the orphanage in the attempt to have miracles appear, however the staff never tell them how to do anything, just send them off.

Kelsey’s story is that of adventure, she is traveling to find a miracle and has various companions join her trip, including a mute child that she dubs ‘Silence’, a talking leopard, a fox, and a king. As she travels she learns more and more about herself and the real journey she is on and it is a lot of fun.

I found myself loving the Orphanage storyline most at first but then wanted more of Kelsey’s story, it was a very good balance, I think.

I recommend this book to young readers; I think they will love it. However I also think it is a great read for anyone, there are a lot of hidden and not-so-hidden messages throughout it and I really enjoyed the depth behind those messages.


  1. This book sounds neat!! I can't imagine how many books you must hear about at BEA. I really wish I could go there!!! Maybe one year I'll make it.

  2. I've had this on my TBR for since BEA, also. I love a thoughtful MG book, I'm glad to see you liked it as well!