Thursday 3 March 2016

Review on The Island

 When Fran Stanton finds herself the only survivor of a plane crash, she must battle for her life by trying to survive on a desert island. With no food or fresh water available, Fran must find alternative methods to survive, and hope that help will arrive soon. However she is haunted by her past, and the reason behind why she became a monster and had to attend the scheme for young offenders. As she spends more and more time alone, Fran has more time to dwell on her past and come to terms with what she has done.

I requested this book as I thought the cover was cute and the story seemed somewhat interesting. I figured it would be a cute island romance with a little survival thrown in and a little back story. I could not have been more wrong!

The Island follows Fran, a girl who has committed a crime and has to go on a three month expedition to learn survival skills and help out the locals. When her plane crashes, she is left stranded in the middle of the ocean, seemingly the only survivor. Once she reaches a small island, she must do her best to survive off what little supplies she has brought with her and what the island can provide.

I initially thought that I would dislike this book, as the first few chapters failed to grab my attention and I wasn't too sure about it constantly skipping from Fran talking about the present to talking about the past. However, once she actually reached the island, I felt that the book really picked up it's pace and I started to enjoy it a lot more.

I loved that this wasn't the cliché island romance that I was expecting! Instead of romanticising being stuck on a desert island, Levez shows the harsh reality of what it would be like. Fran struggles to survive, from realising that there are not many food options on an island, to having to conserve her water supply until she can find a new source. I loved how raw and real this part of the story was, and that nothing was glossed over to make it seem like a fun experience.

Although it wasn't my favourite part of the story at first, I ended up loving the storyline of what crime she had committed to get herself put onto the program in the first place. I loved that what she had done was revealed bit by bit instead of it being told to us from the start, as it kept me interested in that part of the story and wanting to know more about what the crime was. I also loved that it covered the important theme of having a bad family life, and the fact that I hated her mums boyfriend so much really showed how well this part was written. I also loved the strong relationship between Fran and her little brother, as it showed how much she cared for him and that even though she felt as if she was a monster for the crime she had committed, she still had redeeming qualities. I also loved her character development, as at the start of the book she seemed to be really reckless without thinking about the consequences, but as the story went on she was a lot more careful about her resources.

I loved that there wasn't too many characters to keep track of, as in the majority of YA books that I read I feel as if I lose track of who minor characters are, but with The Island I felt as if I had a strong understanding of who everyone was and what their relationship to Fran was. I also loved how typically British the characters were! It is extremely difficult to find a YA book where the protagonist is British, as both contemporary and fantasy YA novels are often set in an American high school. I also loved that parts of the book seemed quite poetic, as the layout seemed quite unique in parts for a prose story, along with the words flowing well. I also loved how short the chapters were, as it meant that I was able to get through multiple chapters in one sitting and never had to stop reading in the middle of a chapter.

As soon as Rufus was introduced into the story I felt as if a romance was inevitable, and that my fears were coming true. Finding a YA novel which doesn't have romance as one of the main plot points is extremely rare, and as someone who is getting really tired of reading about typical heterosexual romances I was so glad that romance wasn't a theme at all in this book. I loved the friendship between Fran and Rufus, and although I did love Fran, Rufus ended up winning over my heart and becoming my favourite character. I loved that although Fran initially hated him, they ended up working together well and forming a strong bond. The fact that Rufus didn't want to form a romantic relationship with Fran, and the reason behind that made me extremely happy! Finding a book with such a great plot and characters made me wish that it would never end and I wouldn't have to go back to reading mediocre YA novels about heterosexual couples.

Although I finished this book a few days ago I have constantly been thinking about the ending! The ending is extremely ambiguous, and although I would have preferred knowing for certain what happened to the characters, I feel as if leaving the reader thinking about it and having to make up their own interpretations about what could have happened leaves a bigger impression. Once a book is released into the world, part of it belongs to the reader, as each person will interpret things in a slightly different way, such as imagining what the characters and location look like. Along with this, people will also form their own opinions on what happened to Fran and Rufus after the book ended, and this could create a strong talking point between readers.

I can not recommend this book enough and my only problem with it is that I wish that it had been longer! Although it is a relatively standard sized book, it took me a while to get through it simply because I didn't want it to end. If you want to read a realistic desert island story without a terrible romance subplot, then you need to read this book!

The Island is now available to purchase!

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