Review: The Island

March 1, 2016 in Book Reviews, YA

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The IslandThe Island by Olivia Levez
Published by One World on 3rd March 2016
Genres: YA
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher

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.

Before I start, let me first say how much I love the cover of this book – it’s gorgeous! The waves are actually embossed and it really makes for a striking cover.

Ok, so on to the book itself… Frances is a first time offender who has been offered the chance to avoid juvenile detention by taking part in a 12 week TeamSkill programme working with communities on a remote Indonesian island.

So it is that we find her on a small plane heading for that island, together with fellow offenders as well as TeamSkill staff. When the plane crashes into the Ocean, Frances avoids death and ultimately finds herself alone on a remote, uninhabited island. She has no survival skills and so she faces a battle to stay alive.

We flit between Frances’ life on the island, her struggle to survive, and her past life. Slowly we unravel the tale of her life with her little brother Johnny and her their alcoholic prostitute mother Cassie.

I found Frances to be a very hard character to like. I’m sure that’s the point, certainly at the start of the book, however I didn’t really warm to her very much. I found many of her actions to be frustrating and even after uncovering her background story I just couldn’t bring myself to like her.

It took me a while to get into this book, probably because I found Frances so irritating. However, I did start to enjoy it once the real island story got going.

I did have a few issues with this book. I’m not going to spoil it for you by going into details here, but I think I possibly had my ‘sensible, grumpy, old person hat’ on. I couldn’t believe Frances was doing some of the things she was doing. I suspect that I’d have enjoyed it more if I’d had a ‘YA hat’ on instead.

I feel I’ve been rather negative so far, and that wasn’t my intention.┬áThere are certainly a wide range of issues addressed in this book, and it is interesting to watch Frances fight to be the girl she truly wants to be. I suspect this will be something that many readers will be able to relate to.

With regards to things I enjoyed, I enjoyed the description and detail that allowed me to build up this island in my mind. I probably enjoyed the final third of this book the most, despite what I felt was a somewhat abrupt ending.

All in all, this is a good read. It is thought provoking and offers something a bit different from other YA I’ve read. I enjoyed it, I just didn’t love it.