Monday, 21 March 2016

Caragh Reviews // The Island by Olivia Levez

Published - 3rd March 2016
Publisher - Oneworld Publications
Format - Paperback
Synopsis 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.

 Truly thankful to Rock the Boat for sending me a copy of this to review!

I wasn't really sure what to expect when I started reading this. The main character is sixteen year old Fran, who has done something so terrible, she's being sent away. But that's all the information we're given straight away. It was such a difficult situation for me, because Fran is horribly unlikable right from the start. She is standoffish, judgemental, unkind and just downright bratty. However, I persevered and wow, that was the best decision I could have made.

The Island is beautifully written and engaging. There aren't 'chapters' as such; mini ramblings is more what I would call them. They pass from Fran's past to the present so often that you kind of have to speed read to really make sense of things. This worked really well for me though. As each 'section' was so short, I was propelled to keep going. Just one more little section. Oh go on then, i'll do another couple. And on it went until i'd read the entire thing within a couple of breaks at work and an accidental all-nighter.

As time goes on, we experience a lot of trauma and adventure through the eyes of Fran. We watch her risk her life over and over just to survive. Fran frequently refers to herself as 'medusa' or a 'rock' because she is emotionless and can withstand anything but the longer Fran is on the island, her cracks start expanding and she lets the reader in, to begin to understand her. She is not a regular teenager and although I wouldn't go as far as saying she is easily forgivable, I can certainly admit to sharing her emotions and feeling a lot of anger myself.

On the subject of anger though, WHAT THE HELL IS WITH THAT ENDING?
Obviously i'm not going to go into detail here, the books barely even been released. I can say though with my hand on my heart, that I have never been as angry with a book ending as I was with this one. I watched this girl struggle and face her traumatic past whilst she fought to stay alive in her traumatic present. I appreciated her, I went from detesting her to wanting to cuddle her. And yet THAT is my reward? I'm afraid not. I fully expect some kind of answer to be released one day and I will not give up hope.

Until then, if you don't like resolution, this one may need some consideration before reading. In all other respects though, a wonderful, enlightening book that will definitely do great things in the future.

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