The main character, Kit, is very likable and readable. Her glamorous parents died when she was young. She is raised by her grandfather who appears to have been a champion of education, free thinking, strength, and "girl power". When her grandfather dies she sails from Barbados to Connecticut to live with her mom's sister, Rachel.
As you'd expect, Connecticut in 1687 is not overly receptive to Kit's free-wheeling though well intentioned ways. She struggles to find a fit within the socially and religiously conservative colony. No spoiling . . .
I really enjoyed this one. I thought it was a good mix of entertaining and educational. I would definitely attempt to persuade my daughter to read it when her attention span gets a little longer (she is 6 years old). I think this book brings that whole "trying to find a place, trying to fit in" into a good spot for thoughtful consideration. While most may say that finding a place is hard for all adolescents, I think it is definitely harder for some than others. This book does an excellent job of portraying this process. I know that I am always on the look out for a "secret society" of thinkers similar to myself, even as an adult.*
As an orphan (since age 9), I've always been a big fan of the orphan books. My sister tells me that the orphan component per her early childhood education courses is necessary because it forces/speeds character development of independence and other life skills that blossom much more slowly (if ever) under the watchful eye of helicopter moms and dads.
I think my next book will be Elizabeth George Speare's The Bronze Bow (her other Newbery Winner).
*Try as I might I have not been able to line up many friends (even my smart ones) to participate in a reading project like this. I don't think it is just because I live in Louisiana (ha ha), I think it is just part of the finding a place true to you sort of thing.