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Tween and Teen Books about Orphans

Many classic stories tell the tales of orphans—Oliver Twist, Jane Eyre, The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, and so on. But there are tons of awesome stories about orphans, foster kids and adoption being written every day. From Harry Potter to the Baudelaire children, here's a list of modern books with orphaned characters:

Gossamer by Lois Lowry

An elderly woman fosters a young boy. He has serious anger issues which stem from his abusive home life. But with the help of his patient foster mother (and a tiny creature called a dream-giver), the boys learns to be happy.

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

Determined not to be separated, orphans Prosper and Bo turn to the streets of Venice, Italy, where they join a band of young thieves.


The 39 Clues series by Various Authors

This nail-biting adventure series stars two orphans, Dan and Amy. They travel around the world in search of all 39 clues to the Cahill family secret. But the competition’s fierce—their aunts, uncles and cousins are determined to eliminate them from the race. Check out the first two books in the series: The Maze of Bones and One False Note.


Dancing Through the Snow by Jean Little

After living with five different foster families, Min begins to lose hope. Then her Christmas miracle arrives in the form of her doctor, Jessica Hart, who understands what it’s like to be a foster child.


The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

Reynie Muldoon isn’t your average orphan. Only he and three other orphans pass a test that hundreds of kids failed. Why? Because Reynie is gifted. He and his new friends go on an undercover mission inside a creepy institution, where an evil man is brainwashing the entire world.


The Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

The day their parents parish in a house fire, the Baudelaire children become orphans. They’re placed in one foster home after another as their evil uncle, Count Olaf, tries to kill the children and steal their fortune.


Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

When Harry was a baby, his parents died at the hands of the world’s most evil wizard, Lord Voldemort. After living with his horrible aunt and uncle for eleven years, Harry escapes to a wizarding school called Hogwarts. There he makes friends for the first time in his life. But Hogwarts isn’t safe for Harry, not with Voldemort on the loose.


Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge

In a world where books are banned, one literate young girl must learn to survive on her own. Her mother died in childbirth and her father, a writer, died for his love of literature. Now she must live with her cruel uncle, or find some way to escape.


Related Stories:

  • January 2009 Book Buzz
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Book Review
  • The End and The Beatrice Letters Book Review
  • The Giver Book Review
  • 1 Comment

    Related Stories

    F1103581139796

    Fave Orphan? Vote!

    • Sunny! That chompin' toddler rocks.
    • Klaus, 'cuz he's brave and smart.
    • Inventor girls like Violet are da bomb!
    • The orphans? Ha! Count Olaf is my fave.

    General In The Forums

    Mermaid_Author14
    I'm sad to see you leaving so soon, especially because we have only been friends for a little while.  I didn't know your birthday was coming up so quickly, or that you were going to be 18! I have lots of things to say about you (all good things), but it'll be hard to name them all. I just want you to know that it's not about how long you've been here, it's about the memories that last a lifetime. I hope you have a happy birthday and a great trip!
    reply about 3 hours
    AnnaOfExquizurd
    " In the vast, deep forest of Hyrule… long have I served as the guardian spirit… I am known as the Deku Tree. The children of the forest, the Kokiri, live here with me. Each Kokiri has his or her own guardian fairy. However, there is one boy who does not have a fairy…. " *** In his tree-trunk home, the boy was tossing and turning on his little cot. The circular room was dark; it was nighttime. And, as it was nighttime again, his young mind was plunged into the same nightmare again.... Hooves, galloping in a rapid staccato, like a myriad of drums being pounded, raced across a dark path lit on either side by fire as tall as the boy. But they only reached the shoulders of the horse as dark as midnight, its master clothed in cloth and armor just as dark. But that wasn't what was scary... it was the aura of evil practically dripping off the man, with his fiery hair and dark, nearly-green skin.... And how real he felt. *** "...Navi... Navi, where art thou? Come hither...." Back in my clearing, a cyan ball of light entered my line of sight, gently bobbing a few feet off of the ground. A pair of barely visible clear wings were the only indicator that she was facing me. Compared to my massive size, she was almost a speck. " Oh, Navi the fairy... listen to my words, the words of the Deku Tree.... Dost thou sense it? The climate of evil descending upon this realm.... Malevolent forces even now are mustering to attack our land of Hyrule.... For so long, the Kokiri Forest, the source of life, has stood a barrier, deterring outsiders and maintaining the order of the world.... But, before this tremendous evil power, my power is as nothing.... It seems the time has come for the boy without a fairy to begin his journey... the youth whose destiny it is to lead Hyrule to the path of justice and truth.... Navi, go now! Find our young friend and guide him to me... I do not Have much time left. Fly, Navi, fly! The fate of the forest--nay, the world--depends upon thee. "
    reply about 9 hours
    AnnaOfExquizurd
    So, this is a story version of the game  The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time  that I'm writing for (a) fun and (b) one of my friends who is interested in it, but can't play it. Some of the characters' words will be direct quotes, and some won't. I'm going to try and make it as exact to the game as possible. I'll have direct quotes pointed out like this: " Hey, listen! " And more paraphrased things will be formatted regularly. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the story--coming up in the next post! I DO NOT CLAIM ANY PART OF THIS STORY--CHARACTERS, PLOT, LORE, AND EVERYTHING BESIDES THE FACT I DESCRIBED IT--AS MINE. ALL CHARACTERS, LORE, AND EVERY BIT OF THE PLOT BELONGS TO NINTENDO. I MERELY DESCRIBED IT AND AM DOING THIS FOR A FRIEND.
    reply about 10 hours
    Mew2_
    Mew2_ posted in Random:
    Basically you drink water and can't use the bathroom. there are many rules and different ways to play. But this is what it boils down to. let me know if you ever have played this game before, or anything like it.
    reply about 10 hours
    Tennis123
    Tennis123 posted in Debating:
    i want to try to bring this forum back to life. but i would like to point out that if you say that because "X" its ok to kill animals, then if that same thing was present in a human, it would be morally justified to kill them. if choose that we can kill animals because of something but not humans for the exact same reason, then thats a double standard and logically inconsistant.
    reply about 11 hours