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The Island by M A Bennett - Review

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Where did I get it? Netgalley, courtesy of Bonnier Zaffre publishers, so thank you very much to them! 

What's it about? Lincoln Selkirk wakes up on a desert island and through flashback we find out what has happened. He was raised partly in America and then in Oxford by scientist parents. He's been homeschooled but aged thirteen he joins Osney school, which is extremely sporty and where Lincoln fails to fit in. On his very first day he is humiliated in a race and designated as a "Twelve" - the lowest of the low. He spends the next three years being bullied and vows to leave school as soon as he turns sixteen. His parents agree, on the condition that he attends a two week summer camp with some of his fellow students. On the way there, the plane crashes and seven of them are left on this desert island.

The school stuff takes up twenty percent of the book, which I felt was quite far into it for us not to see that much of the island. On the island, Lincoln manages to make fire, hunt animals, and become indispensable to the others. The power starts to go to his head and we see all kinds of things unravel there.

I felt like parts of the story were a little bit stereotypical and I could see them coming. But then, I'm 34 and have read a lot of books and seen a lot of media. A teenager may not have seen this kind of story played out before so may not see things before they're revealed on page. I also forgave a lot of the trite parts because they were written so well and told in new ways, which was good. There are obviously a lot of comparisons with Lord of the Flies, but there's so much other popular culture put in too, so I really liked it. I think M A Bennett has a real flair for creating believable characters. I have to say that I mostly didn't LIKE Lincoln as a person, but he was a great character and a reader could often understand why he did what he did. There was enough about him to keep me reading, anyway.

I felt like the ending was a bit rushed and I would've liked more denouement and explanation there. But in all, this was as intriguing as S.T.A.G.S and I really enjoyed it. 

What age range is it for? I'd say from 15

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? Yes, but it's not a major storyline

Are any main characters people of colour? Yes, although it's not a major strand

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? No 

Is there any sex stuff? Not really 

Are drugs mentioned or used? Yes, there is a leaf on the island which is similar to cocaine and which Lincoln takes 

Is there any talk of death? Yes, it's not overly explicit

Are there swear words? I don't think so? 

What criticisms do I have? Like I say, I think there could have been less school at the beginning and more explanation at the end. 

Would I recommend the book? Absolutely 

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? I was desperate to read it as soon as I got approved for it! 

What other books is it like? Well, Lord of the Flies, obviously, which i read a hundred years ago in secondary school. It's also a lot like S.T.A.G.S. 

How many stars? Four out of five, it's thoroughly enjoyable. 

The Island will by published by Bonnier Zaffre on the 9th of August 2018

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