Publisher: Rock The Boat
Release Date: March 3rd 2016
Buy The Book: Amazon UK
Frances is alone on a small island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. She has to find water and food. She has to survive. And when she is there she also thinks about the past. The things that she did before. The things that made her a monster. Nothing is easy. Survival is hard and so is being honest about the past. Frances is a survivor however, and with the help of the only other crash survivor, she sees that the future is worth fighting for.
The Island is a gripping and thoughtful story about a girl who didn’t ask to be the person she is but is also determined to make herself the person she wants to be.
This book is everything I’ve been searching for in a story. It truly is. I could not stop reading. Already I’m finding it difficult to put my thoughts into a review because I JUST WANT TO WRITE EVERYTHING IN CAPITALS, THAT’S HOW EXCITED I AM ABOUT THIS BOOK.
The Island starts with Frances on a plane journey to work abroad as part of a scheme she is required to take part in after committing a crime. When the journey goes terribly wrong, Frances never reaches her intended destination. Instead she ends up deserted on an island and struggling to survive.
I’ll be totally honest; at first, I wasn’t too sure whether this book was for me. The writing style was quite different to what I’m used to, and I wasn’t really connecting with Frances. But that quickly changed. Before I knew it, I couldn’t put it down. This book is seriously addictive.
It didn't take long for me to start adoring Frances. She’s feisty, she has an attitude, and she’s at war with her own past. The book tells her story by switching from present day to the events that already have happened, showing us what led to Fran being in her current situation. The author is wonderful at writing from the perspective of a troubled teenager, and it allowed me to sympathise with Fran’s difficulties, to understand why she took the actions that she did.
The details of Fran’s home life were heart-breaking to read, especially the relationship between her and her younger brother, Johnny. I loved how the book let us know that these characters had faced troubled times, but slowly revealed it little by little as Fran had to deal with her memories whilst alone on the island.
What I especially love about this book is that it doesn’t romanticise being trapped on a desert island. This is about real survival skills and a genuine fight for life. Fran’s journey throughout this book is a tremendously difficult one, and it’s not cute. The author brilliantly demonstrates exactly how rough and dangerous life on the island is. I loved Fran getting stronger and learning to do more to help her chances of survival. At first, she wallowed in self-pity and wasted resources, so seeing her change and start to fight for herself was empowering.
Now I’m not going to name the other plane survivor (because spoilers), but they were utterly perfect. When they were introduced, the story took a little more of a light-hearted turn, which I felt was a much needed breather from Fran’s constantly desperate struggle. Obviously, it’s not all easy-living from there. It’s still two people trapped on a desert island and fighting to survive, but there is more humour and some exceptionally touching scenes, and I adored every moment that the two of them shared. From initially disliking each other, their bond of friendship grows beautifully strong, and it was great to see them finally open up to each other about their lives back home.
The ending of this book, THE ENDING. Gosh, I’m still not over it. It’s an ending that leaves you wondering beyond that final page. Whilst in a perfect world, I’d be handed a firm conclusion about the fate of the characters and I’d get some closure, but the actual ending forces you to think about possible outcomes for yourself.
Seriously, I can’t praise this book enough. It truly was a breath of fresh air. The Island is so different to a lot of the books I usually read and I’m thrilled that I got the chance to read it. This is a YA book that doesn’t rely on romance and typical teen clichés. This is a book about strength, determination, about finding courage when all hope is lost and facing up to the past. This is a truly beautiful debut from Olivia Levez, and it’s made me extremely excited for whatever she shares with us next.