Friday, September 19, 2014

Shipwreck island by S.A. Bodeen

For years it has just been Sarah and her father, just as for years it has been Yvonna, Marco, and Nacho - but now they are one family, or at least that is the idea.  Sarah resents the intrusion of Yvonna and the boys into her life, a life that felt complete with just her dad.  Marco resents the upheaval in his life, having to leave behind everything - home, school, and friends - to move from Texas to California.  What was meant to be a blended family is more like a family negotiating for peace - which is why John and Yvonna decide that the whole family will go away together on what should have been their honeymoon.

The trip to Fiji for their cruise on a boat seems like it is the worst part of the journey, but the long haul flights are nothing compared to what they will find on the open ocean.  What starts as a fairly pleasant cruise (despite some sea sickness) soon turns into a nightmare when they are shipwrecked during a terrible storm.  Washed ashore it seems as though they have had a stroke of luck, but Shipwreck island may not be the safe haven they think it is.

I discovered S.A. Bodeen for the first time earlier this year, and I have been slowly working my way through her back catalogue, spacing them out so I can enjoy them as the treasures they are.  It is not a common thing to find an author who is able to create a completely absorbing read, complete with heart stopping action, yet without the weight and heavy wording that would make them inaccessible to readers of all ages and abilities. 

I have been pleasantly surprised by the depth and believability of the novels, as well as the range of genre and genre bending books Bodeen has written.  Shipwreck island starts as an adventure story focused on a family coming to grips with the increasingly common issues of blending two families together, complete with life threatening challenge where they all have to work together to survive and make the best of the situation.  It then takes a side ways shift into a "weird mystery" and science fiction combo when it becomes clear that there is something very strange about the island. 

I was a little frustrated to discover this was the first book in a series, mainly because there was nothing on the book that indicated this!  Doing some homework online it looks as though this is the first book in a trilogy, and there has been some grumbling from other readers about the change of direction in the novel and the abrupt ending.  Was there a change in direction?  Yes, but it adds depth to the novel because it makes it a little less predictable.  Was there an abrupt end to the novel?  Yes, but it is a tense cliff hanger that will leave us all hanging until book two is released in July 2015!

This is another book by Bodeen that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages - from children through to teenagers.

If you like this book then try:
  • The compound by S.A. Bodeen
  • The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen
  • Island of the blue dolphins by Scott O'Dell
  • The Menagerie by Tui T. Sutherland and Kari Sutherland
  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  • Survival by Chris Ryan
  • The Cay by Theodore Taylor
  • Arrival by Chris Morphew
  • The zoo at the edge of the world by Eric Kahn Gale
  • The world around the corner by Maurice Gee
  • Into the land of the unicorns by Bruce Coville
  • Pangur ban the white cat by Fay Sampson
  • Dragon shield by Charlie Fletcher
  • Stone heart by Charlie Fletcher
  • Red rocks by Rachael King
  • The mysterious howling by Maryrose Wood
  • Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo
  • Northwood by Brian Falkner
  • Finding the fox by Ali Sparkes
  • Hollow Earth by John Barrownman and Carole Barrowman
  • The half men of O by Maurice Gee

Reviewed by Brilla

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