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The Island by C L Taylor - Review

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Where did I get it? Netgalley, so thank you so much to Harper Collins for granting me access to the book AND the audiobook. I read it though, I don't listen to many audiobooks. Recently whenever I've been in the car I've been listening to the You're Wrong About podcast, which I would recommend!

What's it about? Six teenagers are on holiday in Thailand. Their parents met in ante-natal classes before the teens were born and have stayed in touch ever since. They've all had holidays every year together and now they're in Thailand. Things are a bit weird because Jessie is quite set apart from the rest of the group, but the reader isn't yet sure why. A boy at the resort hits on Honor, one of the group of six, and Jessie violently gets revenge on him. 

The six teens - Jessie, Danny, Honor, Milo, Meg, and Jeffers - are all leaving the resort to go to a deserted island for a week to do a kind of Survivor thing. They will have a guide with them. They leave, and arrive, and set to making a shelter on the beach and learning how to catch fish and forage for food. However, then their guide dies of a stroke, leaving the kids alone. 

On the first night, the six talked about their worst phobias, and over the next few days it seems like they begin to come true. But a couple of people are hiding their worst phobias. The group splits and starts to attack each other. Is one of the group responsible for the phobias coming true, or is there someone else on the island?

Jessie has been through something traumatic, which we learn about through the novel. She has scars on her arms and body and is self conscious about swimming in front of the others. Honor is usually the nicest person, but this year she seems prickly against Danny, who is her boyfriend. Danny keeps tight control of her, which was portrayed really well. He's a bit of an all round douche. Meg and Milo are twins. Milo and Jessie have always had kind of a thing between them, but it's never been quite the right time, but they do really like each other. Jeffers is really into the survivalist stuff which winds the others up, but I liked it. Meg is the person I didn't get a good read on, which was a shame as I'd have liked to. 

The book is told in dual narrative between Jessie and Danny, and I appreciated two points of view. The blurb says it's like "The Hunger Games meets Lost" and I do kind of know what that comparison is saying. I think it's like a shorter version of The Beach by Alex Garland, which is one of my favourite books. I first read it when I was sixteen and in my last year at school. I quite like the film but it's nowhere near as good as the book and Leonardo Dicaprio in no way looked like Richard from the book. In the book he's left a map to an island near Ko Samui where some people have set up a commune. He and two French people - a couple - make they're way there and join the commune. It's idyllic - until it isn't. Richard starts to go a bit loopy, one of the Swedes there gets eaten by a shark... it's really good. I recommend it, and I think it's okay for a mature teenager to read. 

What age range is it for? 15+. There are some darker themes and events. 

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? Yes, Jeffers is gay and it's a bit of a source of tension between the boys 

Are any main characters people of colour? No 

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? Yes. Clearly Jessie has been through something awful, and so has someone else. I can't say more without spoiling it, though. 

Is there any sex stuff? No 

Are drugs mentioned or used? I don't think so. 

Is there any talk of death? Yes, a few times. It is in parts quite graphic.

Are there swear words? A few, nothing too bad. I liked how they kept saying 'bloody' because that's a word I use a lot. 


What criticisms do I have? I felt the ending was a bit abrupt. It was probably a deliberate choice, but I'd have liked a bit more exposition at the end and a discussion between the teenagers and their parents once they were rescued. 

Would I recommend the book? Yep, absolutely. 

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? I just really liked the blurb and thought it sounded good, so I wanted to get to it 

What do I think of the cover? I like it, it's eye catching and gives away a bit of how dark it is. 


What other books is it like? I've mentioned some above, but it's also like its namesake, The Island by M A Bennett 

How many stars? Four out of five 

The Island was published on 21st January 2021. I was given a free electronic copy of the novel but was not compensated in any other way for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.  

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