This book tells the story of a girl who gets stuck on her island after all the rest of her tribe leaves on a boat, and follows her survival as she has to live on her own for many years.
Like most people I know, I was forced to read this book as a 4th grader, because it takes place in the Channel Islands and therefore relates to California history. I'm really not exaggerating when I say that everyone hated it. When we had to read it aloud in class, our table would deface our copies. I lost my copy, had to borrow it from an older neighbor -- she too had defaced hers. People seriously hated this book. I would constantly complain to my mom that a "a book about a bored girl who does nothing, has to be boring!"
Now, I haven't reread it since then, but I've been told by people who did that they were surprised and really liked it. So I think the problem is that it is marketed as a children's book, but can't really be appreciated by a 9-year-old. A more appropriate lower age limit would be around 12, maybe 11. Nothing much really happens in this book, except for a girl dealing with some survival aspects, but mostly absolute loneliness, and I think that's hard to think about and relate to for a kid.
I read pretty much as much as I could in elementary school, and the only two books I really hated were this one and Julie of the Wolves (which was actually much much much worse, becaue not only it boring, but it was also not very well-written and had some very random plot turns toward the end. But, since hearing from people that it is much better a few years later, I'll give it three stars. But if you're thinking of giving it to someone, or suggesting it, I'd wait until middle school.