The best orphan books 📚

Browse the best books on orphans as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

Coming Fall 2022: The ability to sort this list by genre (signup here to follow our story as we build a better way to discover books).

Book cover of Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables

By L.M. Montgomery

Why this book?

Anne Shirley is a kindred spirit. Like the other over-achievers I’ve fallen in love with, Anne has to overcome social biases in order to succeed. She is a girl, a red-head and an orphan, all of which are held against her unfairly. But she doesn’t let the injustices dampen her spirits. This is the book I re-read every summer because it reminds me of home (I’m originally a Maritimer). It also reminds me of childhood and the magic of stories.

From the list:

The best books for over-achievers

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of The Wolf's Curse

The Wolf's Curse

By Jessica Vitalis

Why this book?

I love this magical story with fairy tale vibes. A young boy, Gauge, is shunned by his village for being a Voyant, able to see the dreaded Wolf known to steal people's souls. Told from the omniscient perspective of the Wolf, who is misunderstood by the superstitious folk, this story is a beautiful tale of love, friendship, grief, and community. When Gauge's beloved grandfather dies, he is left to navigate his grief and mourning on his own, but soon makes friends with a village girl, Roux. The two help each other while uncovering the true secret of Wolf's role in…

From the list:

The best new middle grade books about animal and human friendships

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of The Scorpio Races

The Scorpio Races

By Maggie Stiefvater

Why this book?

Each November the Scorpio Races are run—a race of mythological “water horses” that are more likely to drown and kill their riders than they are to run to the finish line. Only males compete in the races, until now. Puck Connolly, the first girl to ever ride, was thrown in by chance, unprepared, but doesn’t have much of a choice. The author describes these terrifying equine “water horses” as a cross between a velociraptor and the rankest Thoroughbred race horse you can imagine, but somehow manages to make the reader love them. This fantasy is so realistically drawn, I’d think…

From the list:

The best equestrian-themed books to satisfy your horse story cravings

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book

By Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean

Why this book?

The clue is in the title, but with Neil Gaiman you always get more. What is great about Neil Gaiman’s stories is the way he balances the ordinary with the unusual, but what I love about his writing is that invariably I connect with the characters and they have an emotional heft. Bod Owens is a perfect example of that. (and what a clever name!) I challenge you to spend time in Bod’s world and not be affected by his story: it’s just not possible. You’ll find yourself desperately hoping Bod succeeds in achieving his dreams.

From the list:

The best books set in graveyards

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Edgeland

Edgeland

By Jake Halpern, Peter Kujawinski

Why this book?

I found Edgeland after hearing an interview with the authors. Their book sounded so incredibly creative that I had to pick up a copy. The story is about an orphan, Wren, banished from the House of Aron and left to live on the streets. Wren struggles to find safety and security while her friend, Alec, both age 12, has risen from apprentice to a high-ranking position within House Aron. The comparison of their lives are in stark contrast from Alec living with safety and security, to Wren seeking to find her place with the banished and forgotten. But the really…

From the list:

The most exciting middle-grade adventure novels you’ll ever read

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of The Lies of Locke Lamora

The Lies of Locke Lamora

By Scott Lynch

Why this book?

Reminiscent of a Dickens novel, Lies is a stylishly written jaunt into a rotting canal city packed full of gangsters, tricksters, and strange Eldren ruins. It follows a tight crew of young, talented shysters as they attempt to pull increasingly elaborate and dangerous confidence scams on the nobility, and end up embroiled in the sinister plot of a madman named the Grey King. There are no true battles here. The conflict inhabits a much narrower, more personal level. It’s concerned with intimate back alley backstabbings, rooftop chases, and tense confrontations with despicable gang bosses. A barrel of horse urine stands…

From the list:

The best fights in fantasy: five authors who have mastered the art of writing fight scenes

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Or, view all 91 books about orphans

New book lists about orphans

All book lists about orphans

Bookshelves related to orphans

Browse books by…