Pine Island Home


Pine Island Home Cover

Four sisters search for true family in this story of resilience by a Newbery Honor author.

When the McCready sisters' parents are washed away in a tsunami, their Great Aunt Martha volunteers to have them live with her on her farm in British Columbia. But while they are traveling there, Martha dies unexpectedly, forcing Fiona, the eldest, to come up with a scheme to keep social services from separating the girls - a scheme that will only work if no one knows they are living on their own.

Fiona approaches their grouchy and indifferent neighbor Al and asks if he will pretend to be their live-in legal guardian should papers need to be signed or if anyone comes snooping around. He reluctantly agrees, under the condition that they bring him dinner every night. As weeks pass, Fiona takes on more and more adult responsibilities, while each of the younger girls finds their own special role in their atypical family .

But even if things seem to be falling into place, Fiona is sure it's only a matter of time before they are caught. Written in Polly Horvath's inimitable style, gentle humor and tough obstacles are woven throughout this story about the bonds of sisterhood and what makes a family.


  • Premio Arpino (Italian translation)
  • Premio Orbil (Italian translation)
  • 2020 Governor General Literary Awards Nominee
  • The IODE Violet Downey Book Award 2021 (shortlisted)
  • Bank Streets Best Books of the Year


  • ★ "Horvath, ever respectful of the inner lives of children, has a way of incorporating moments of sweet hilarity into an account that makes the girls’ situation seem plausible. She doesn’t stint on vocabulary or on sophisticated observations, yet her narrative arc is direct and extraordinarily satisfying, with its emphasis on competence and survival of the domestic, familial, and emotional sort. Delightful!” Kirkus Reviews
  • “Horvath hits the perfect notes of independence, adventure, and sentimentality . . . warm, funny and insightful” School Library Journal
  • "[A] buoyant and tender story. . . . With orphan stories there is a rule, of course: By the end, children must have a real guardian. Who that will be is one of the mysteries—and ultimate satisfactions—of this funny and rewarding novel" —The Wall Street Journal
  • "[R]eaders will be treated to a story featuring suspense, believable characters, a fully realized setting, and nuggets of Horvath wisdom"—The Horn Book
  • "a comforting coming-of-age tale . . . Horvath is a master at creating winning characters, and each sister emerges as a distinct individual." —Book Page
  • "Horvath fans will recognize her recurring subject of kids outside of traditional adult care, and the book deftly balances a twenty-first century setting with a classic orphan-story feel. . . . Ultimately, it’s an appealing domestic survival story with a slice of reality, bound to appeal to youngsters who contemplate an adult-free life." —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
  • ”Readers who have grown to love Newbery Honoree Horvath’s (Everything on a Waffle) slightly quirky characters and unique situations will not be disappointed by this suspenseful story of four orphaned sisters in Borneo, who are in a pickle…” Publisher’s Weekly
  • A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
  • ”Horvath’s lovely, quirky storytelling follows the plight of four orphaned sisters in a coastal Pacific town, who are using pluck and ingenuity to get by in the aftermath of their parents’ death. This is a little bit Roald Dahl meets Little Women, with complex characters that aren’t what you think at first glance. I loved this book and would have been over the moon for it as a young reader. "Indie Picks 2020
  • “Horvath (One Year in Coal Harbor, The Night Garden) is a master at creating winning characters, and each sister emerges as a distinct individual."Bookpage
  • “So much wonderful! The sisters are strong, cheeky and charming ... A lovely story that keeps a smile on your face even in the sadness. The writing is flawless ...” Edelweiss
  • ”Polly Horvath’s latest middle-grade masterpiece . . . Horvath’s novels offer a masterclass in smooth and engaging prose.” Quill and Quire, Editor’s Choice, Starred Review
  • What the Booksellers Have to Say

    • Abbe at Quail Ridge writes: Pine Island Home is the story of four young sisters, who have lost the adults in their family and are determined to stay together (and out of the sight of Social Services). The eldest daughter assumes the role of the grown-up. Seeing a child in the role of an adult is a wonderful way for children to develop empathy for their parents. As a child, I remember thinking that my parents had a sweet gig – making all the rules and bossing everybody around (as a parent, I had a rude awakening). This is a charming story of resilience, family and growing up. The backdrop is a quaint, small town on an island in British Columbia, St. Mary’s on the Sea. The girls inherit a lovely farm and with it, a grumpy neighbor. There’s a modern day, “Little Women” vibe to this book which made me love it even more.

    • Carol Moyer writes: What kid doesn't dream of being on her own without pesky parents getting in the way? This story brings that dream to life, when four sisters suddenly find themselves orphaned. They are sent to an elderly relative on an island off the coast of British Columbia, but she dies before the girls arrive. Determined to avoid social services, the girls move into the inherited house, and begin setting up their lives. Four different personalities, a kind school principal, and a grouchy but good-hearted neighbor all have to be sorted out, but the desire to be a family triumphs. Beautifully written, this book will engage and satisfy mid-grade readers. I can't wait to share it with them.

    The Pine Island Home Trailer


    Polly on Pine Island

    Polly on Pine Island