Elin's Island

Elin's Island

by Cynthia L. Copeland

Editorial Reviews

This is a rather old-fashioned novel about yet another girl who lives on a lighthouse island—I think there have been about four such stories that I can remember in the past few years. Much of the novel is based on historical events, including the incredible tale of how Elin came to the island—washed up in a box as a tiny infant after a shipwreck and adopted by the lighthouse keepers. The time of this novel is the early 1940s, as war in Europe looms, German submarines patrol the Atlantic coast, and the authorities are deciding whether to turn off the lamps in the lighthouses because they aid the enemy. Elin and her parents are not happy that the many years of constant vigilance at the lighthouse would be stopped; they know this will endanger the fishermen and others who look to the lighthouse to protect them from the dangers of the Maine coastline. From the beginning of the story there is constant action—first, Elin helps her father rescue two boys in a storm. The older boy, Dan, becomes interested in Elin and tries to get her to come to the mainland for a date. Then Elin's mother suffers a heart attack and Elin is left alone on the island in the initial emergency to take care of the lighthouse, even though she is not even 14 years old. Dan comes back to the island to help her out, and they hear explosions off shore. Worried about the Germans, they decide to turn off the light, but then they have to be vigilant about warning the American boats. Elin is intelligent, resourceful, and a real problem solver. Her life is certainly different than any YAs would know personally, yet reading about it is quite interesting. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2003, Millbrook,144p.,
— Claire Rosser
Children's Literature
Elin belonged on the island. She was even washed ashore as an infant, the only survivor from a shipwreck. The lighthouse keepers, isolated on a rocky, wind-swept crag, adopted her. Elin grew up home-schooled and rarely mingled with kids her own age. One stormy night Elin and her father braved the strong waves and rescued two boys who had foolishly taken their uncle's boat out. Shy, yet attracted to the older boy she has a glimpse of what she might be missing on the mainland. Set in the 1940s when German U-boats watched the coast of Maine, lighthouse keepers were advised to extinguish the light, but how do you protect the legitimate boats from the treacherous coast? Elin is put to the test when her mother takes ill and is taken to the hospital. All alone on the island, Elin must continue with the chores and care for the light, but should it be on or off? Elin is a typical teenager who is starting to think about boys and a life outside her parents. The book is full of compassion and adventure, love and suspense, and is based on real-life events during World War II. 2003, The Millbrook Press,
School Library Journal
Gr 6-8-Elin, 13, lives with her adoptive parents on a small island off the coast of Maine. Andrew, the lighthouse keeper, and Sarah have raised her since she was a baby and she feels very connected to the lighthouse and island life. After she helps her father rescue two boys from a sinking sailboat, she and the older boy, Dan, become friends. The ominous undercurrents of the novel are the reports of World War II from Europe and the rumors of German U-boats being sighted off the North Atlantic coast. When Sarah and Andrew are away on a medical emergency, Elin hears what she realizes are German torpedoes exploding during the night and she figures out a plan, enlisting Dan's help, to turn off the light and still warn ships that they are near the island. Shortly thereafter, she and her family are moved off the island for good, and she nervously anticipates a "normal" life in town. The resolution comes too quickly, moving rapidly from the teens being at the height of the action throughout the night to the family's relocation. Still, the author creates a clear picture of the life of a lighthouse family, and smoothly weaves in the details of the coming war.-Cheri Estes, Detroit Country Day Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
Lerner Single Titles Series
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
11 - 14 Years

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