by Eric Walters
Orca Book Publishers, 2015
ISBN 9781459806658 (pb)
$14.95, 272 pp, ages 12 – 16

This story takes place in Hope, Ontario in 1964. In early June, Betty wakes up to the smell of smoke. Alarmed, she quickly jumps up and starts yelling for the other orphans to get up. By the time the firefighters show up, the Benevolent Home for Necessitous Girls has burned to the ground. The home had been Betty’s for the past 13 years, when she had been brought there shortly before her fourth birthday. Betty and the other older girls, who are all 16 to 18 years of age, are too old to be placed in the care of a guardian. So, with a few items the matron has from their pasts, the seven eldest girls are each sent on a mission to discover who they really are. The few clues the matron had for Betty lead her to a small town called Kingston, where she finds a job as a maid for the wealthy Remington family. She also learns that her father is serving a life sentence for murder, even though some of the clues in the trial seemed fishy. With the help of a police officer named David, Betty unearths some evidence that might cost her life.

My favourite character in this book is Betty because even in the darkest times she remains optimistic and hopeful. She is also friendly, hardworking and she trusts almost everyone. Something I liked about Innocent is how exciting the story plot was. I found myself unable to put down this book. Another great thing is it is part of a series of books called Secrets, which are each about one of the seven oldest girls in the home. I will certainly be reading this book again!!

Review by Anya, age 13, grade 8.

This review is from Canadian Teacher Magaziner’s Jan/Feb 2016 issue.

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