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Wheel of the Moon: 04/18/11
Wheel of the Moon by Sandra Forrester is tween historical fiction that looks at the colonial practice of sending orphans from the British Isles to be indentured servants.
The book opens with Pen's mother drowning in a flash flood. Unable to pay her mother's debts and with no other family to rely on, Pen heads to the London streets. After finding a new family she's grabbed out of the ruins she calls home and sent across the ocean to the colonies.
The book though suffers from two main problems: pacing and characterization. Pen isn't an interesting enough character to carry the book. She's a dishwater dull Mary Sue. Meanwhile the book takes too long to get started, dragging on with setting up the situation and then once the she's finally in the colonies it's a race to the end of the book. It would have been better to start with Pen on the ship with a few flash backs to explain how she got to where she is.
The book would be fine as part of a larger history or social studies unit. Alone though there's not much to this book.