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The Island At the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave - Review

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

This book is this month's choice for my online book club so once I'd finished the Mitford Murders I decided I'd get started on this. It only took me two days to read because I was enjoying it so much! I loved it, I can't wait to discuss it on Skype and see what everyone else thought.

I've not read anything else by Kiran, although I own The Girl of Ink and Stars and I meet her at YALC in 2016 (I think?) and she signed it. I thought she was really lovely! I think I'll read The Girl of Ink and Stars sooner rather than later because I want to see what it's like compared to this.

Okay, so the story. The protagonist is Amihan, who was born on Culion, a leper colony in the Philippines. Her nanay (mother) has leprosy, and was brought to the island aged eighteen, pregnant with Ami. They have lived happily together along with others who are both Touched (have leprosy) and Untouched (don't have leprosy). They don't use the words leper or leprosy, believing them to be taboo words.

One day Mr Zamora arrives on the island. He works for the government and he has new rules. Firstly, the adults will be divided into Leproso and Sano (clean), and forced to live in separate towns on the island. Secondly, all Untouched children under the age of eighteen will be taken to a nearby island to live in an orphanage. For the first time in her life, Ami will have to leave her nanay.

This is a very sweet book, filled with rich description of the islands, of the wildlife, of even the fruit they eat. It is a pretty typical quest story, but it is told in a really lovely new way. I loved Ami and her mother, and I liked Ami's friends and found family. It reads like a fairy story and would, I think, be suitable for anyone from aged ten upwards. I gobbled this up!

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