Review by Janelle Juncos -- Island Games by Caleb J. Boyer

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Janelle Juncos
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Review by Janelle Juncos -- Island Games by Caleb J. Boyer

Post by Janelle Juncos » 27 Apr 2019, 15:50

[Following is a volunteer review of "Island Games" by Caleb J. Boyer.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Island Games by Caleb Boyer follows the plight of Matthew and Ryan when they find themselves in a mysterious game of survival. The teens awaken on the shore of a deserted island with little memory of their life before, and they must rely on their enduring friendship to sustain them through the tests and tasks ahead.

The book's plot has elements reminiscent of Indiana Jones and Hunger Games. It features battles with hybrid creatures, elaborate traps, and life-threatening weather conditions. As the teens travel around the island, they try to stay alive long enough to discover who (or what) is carefully orchestrating their adventure.

Conceptually, the novel is solid. A mysterious element lurks in the corners of the action-packed chapters, and it keeps the reader moving forward. There's rarely a dull moment, and nearly every page presents a new challenge for the pair in (sometimes) unexpected ways. The vocabulary is simple, and the book is short making it ideal for escapist readers. The dialogue is humorous at times, and the text seems to be professionally edited.

While I did find the direction of the plot interesting, the author failed to flesh it out in many ways. The pacing leaves little room for descriptions and character development, and I couldn't envision the island. I wish the author had included some sensory details. Crucial details are missing altogether in places, like how many beasts the boys are fighting at a time. Why, if they've lost most of their memories, are they so confident of their friendship, and how does a complete memory loss even function in progressing the plot? Because the text lacks descriptions, the happenings are told mostly through dialogue, making many interactions unnatural. The basic outline of a plot is there but it fizzles out at the end in what's painted as a philosophical choice but reads as indecisive writing. There is one surprising plot twist, but the same idea is repeated multiple times and becomes predictable.

I must consider that Boyer was 12 when he wrote the story. While his writing could be more concise and descriptive, his best writing at 12 is better than most at 18. For this reason, I rate Island Games a 3 out of 4, with its action and uniqueness increasing the rating and the questionable execution decreasing it. I'd recommend it to middle schoolers who enjoy action scenes that aren't too gratuitous. If you like mysteries, you'll likely be disappointed in the ending.

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Island Games
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Post by kandscreeley » 08 May 2019, 12:11

I thought this was a great book for the age group. Young boys will love the action and adventure it includes. It was definitely a good book, especially for a writer who was only 12. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.
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Post by Prisallen » 10 May 2019, 14:27

I like descriptive books, but I also like books that have a lot of action. Therefore, I am torn. This definitely seems like a good first endeavor on the part of the young author. Thank you for a wonderful review!

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Post by Fazzier » 10 May 2019, 23:25

It seems there are much action packed as the teens battle with the hybrid creatures. This sounds like the young author has done a great job. Thank you for this wonderful review!

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Post by Bianka Walter » 11 May 2019, 04:24

When I was 12 I could probably write a semi-decent page of words. Not necessarily legible ones, but, you know, high five, me.
This is quite amazing.

I really enjoyed your review - thanks!
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Post by T_stone » 11 May 2019, 07:24

I believe young readers will find this book interesting. Considering the writer's age when he wrote this piece, he did really well. Thanks for the introduction to this book
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Post by Janelle Juncos » 11 May 2019, 08:56

kandscreeley wrote:
08 May 2019, 12:11
I thought this was a great book for the age group. Young boys will love the action and adventure it includes. It was definitely a good book, especially for a writer who was only 12. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.
And thanks for sharing yours 😁

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Janelle Juncos
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Post by Janelle Juncos » 11 May 2019, 08:56

Prisallen wrote:
10 May 2019, 14:27
I like descriptive books, but I also like books that have a lot of action. Therefore, I am torn. This definitely seems like a good first endeavor on the part of the young author. Thank you for a wonderful review!
My pleasure! Thanks for stopping by!

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Janelle Juncos
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Post by Janelle Juncos » 11 May 2019, 08:57

T_stone wrote:
11 May 2019, 07:24
I believe young readers will find this book interesting. Considering the writer's age when he wrote this piece, he did really well. Thanks for the introduction to this book
Yep! Thanks for the comment.

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Janelle Juncos
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Post by Janelle Juncos » 11 May 2019, 08:59

Bianka Walter wrote:
11 May 2019, 04:24
When I was 12 I could probably write a semi-decent page of words. Not necessarily legible ones, but, you know, high five, me.
This is quite amazing.

I really enjoyed your review - thanks!
I think I wrote a lot of terrible poetry at age 12. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, I appreciate you!

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Post by Bluebird03 » 12 May 2019, 08:48

I read this one and was also disappointed in the ending. I understood why the twelve-year-old author chose to end it that way, but I wanted to know more. Thank you for a very engaging review! Another great job, Janelle!

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Janelle Juncos
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Post by Janelle Juncos » 12 May 2019, 17:08

Bluebird03 wrote:
12 May 2019, 08:48
I read this one and was also disappointed in the ending. I understood why the twelve-year-old author chose to end it that way, but I wanted to know more. Thank you for a very engaging review! Another great job, Janelle!
Thanks, bluebird! You're my book buddy!

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Post by CommMayo » 12 May 2019, 20:49

I like your comparison to Indiana Jones and the Hunger Games.

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Post by unamilagra » 12 May 2019, 22:48

Great review! It's always impressive to hear when an author is able to get published so young. Sounds like he has great potential, and hopefully his next book will focus a little more on descriptions and character development.

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Post by Janelle Juncos » 13 May 2019, 20:10

CommMayo wrote:
12 May 2019, 20:49
I like your comparison to Indiana Jones and the Hunger Games.
Thanks for stopping by!

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