The Unadoptables by Hana Tooke

Publication Date: 23 July 2020

The Blurb

In all the years that Elinora Gassbeek has been matron of the Little Tulip Orphanage, not once have the very strict Rules for Baby Abandonment been broken. Until the autumn of 1886, when five babies are left in outrageous circumstances:

One in a tin toolbox.
One in a coal bucket.
One in a picnic hamper.
One in a wheat sack.
And finally, one in a coffin-shaped basket.

Those babies were Lotta, Egg, Fenna, Sem and Milou.

And although Gassbeek might think they’re ‘unadoptable’, they know their individuality is what makes them so special – and so determined to stay together.

Then a most sinister gentleman appears and threatens to tear them apart. The gang decide to make a daring escape, fleeing the frozen canals of Amsterdam for an adventure packed with puppets and pirate ships, clock-makers and cruel villains – and with only a scrap of a clue to guide them.

Illustrations by Ayesha L. Rubio

The Review

A stunningly spooky and sinister story of loyalty, determination and family packed with adventure and adversity.

The children’s unique voices shine throughout, with each using their talents to keep the group going when life deals them yet more set backs. Imagination and inginuity, teamwork and tenacity are in plentiful supply as they strive to escape the system they were abandoned in and find a new life, together.

Gassbeck is as penny pinching and mean a Matron to the orphans of Amsterdam in her charge as the Master of the orphanage in Oliver. But, she pales in comparison to the sheer cruelty of Rotman who will stop at nothing to ensure his ship sails with the orphans he’s been promised.

Whether in the city, or the polder, on rooftops or frozen rivers, Hana transports the reader back in time to each setting with ease, immersing us into the childrens’ world.

With an ending that was nothing short of perfection, The Unadoptables is as mesmerizing as it is menacing, a truly marvellous read.

Great for fans of:

  • The Peculiars by Keiran Larwood
  • The Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine
  • Strange Star by Emma Carroll

Huge thanks to Puffin and ReadingZone for sending me an early review copy.

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