Review by Lindsey Klaus -- Island Games by Caleb J. Boyer

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Lindsey Klaus
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Latest Review: Island Games by Caleb J. Boyer

Review by Lindsey Klaus -- Island Games by Caleb J. Boyer

Post by Lindsey Klaus »

[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: Mystery of the Four Quadrants by Caleb J. Boyer is a fast-paced young adult novel that thrills and entertains. Island Games reads like Lost meets The Hunger Games with a strong focus on friendship, adventure, and perseverance.

Teenage best friends Matthew and Ryan awaken on a soaked beach with no memories and no means of escape. Stranded on a seemingly uninhabited island without supplies and unable to contact the outside word, the two soon find themselves thrown into a mysterious and dangerous game that challenges their skill, determination, and friendship. In order to survive, they must work together, and the two embark on a journey of self-discovery and growth.

Island Games was written by a 12-year-old boy after a family tragedy forced him to travel hours every day for years of his young life. The challenges he faced inspired him to create a story epitomizing exactly that: dogged resolve in the face of grave adversity. Teamwork, trust, positivity, and love become fundamental for survival. Island Games, like life, is about moving forward and facing challenges despite fear, insecurity, or confusion. The storyline briskly follows the protagonists through the four quadrants of the island, each area containing new surprises and attention-grabbing landscapes that test the ability and will of the protagonists.

Due to the age of the author, the writing style shows promise but is also simplistic and lacking in description. For example, the boys fight several creatures but, with one exception, we’re only told they’re “beasts” and little else. Perspective shifts from Matthew to Ryan and vice versa without any page breaks. Inner thoughts bounce between first person and third as well as between past tense and present. The dialogue is repetitive in that the characters often repeat what was described a paragraph before, sometimes using the same descriptive language.

While the author has room to improve, the style has a lot of potential. The opening scene of Matthew waking on the sandy shore of the island is eye-catching and compelling. The easiness of the style moves the story forward quickly and concisely. Darker elements are kept at bay by humor and friendly banter, such as when an animal attack leaves Ryan temporarily without pants. It’s fun, bite-sized, and charming.

Overall, I rate Island Games: Mystery of the Four Quadrants by Caleb J. Boyer 3 out of 4 stars. My biggest criticism is that the description is lacking, repetitive, and peppered with the occasional error, but taking the author’s age into account and the book’s demographic, these issues didn’t faze me enough to drop another star. It’s an exciting, adrenaline-boosting romp with a variety of scenery, trials, and humorous exchanges. The characters develop while still remaining consistent, and they clearly deliver the theme.

While enjoyable for people of all ages, I especially recommend Island Games to preteens and younger teens who enjoy humorous thrillers and action-packed adventures about friendship. Boyer’s book is clean and does not contain profanity, gore, or erotic scenes, but does contain scenes of non graphic violence. Those who do not like cliffhangers should wait until the next book is published.

******
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esp1975
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Post by esp1975 »

Given the author's age, I am not surprised by the issues you had with the book. But I agree that by writing his first novel at age 12, he shows a lot of promise. Hopefully there will be better things coming from him as he matures.
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Lindsey Klaus
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Latest Review: Island Games by Caleb J. Boyer

Post by Lindsey Klaus »

esp1975 wrote: 03 Aug 2019, 16:50 Given the author's age, I am not surprised by the issues you had with the book. But I agree that by writing his first novel at age 12, he shows a lot of promise. Hopefully there will be better things coming from him as he matures.
Absolutely! His style has a lot of potential, and I can see him growing up to become a very talented writer. He's already got talent, actually - this is written a lot better than most of the stuff I've read by other twelve-year-olds. It's certainly not written poorly - but there's also room to improve. It's a really nice story that kept me interested and it had a really uplifting theme. It's worth a read if you like young adult action/adventure books.
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Post by maggi3 »

I’ve read some mixed reviews about this book. I like that the author was able to make something positive out of the tragedy he faced. I also like the concept of the book, but I wish he had provided more details. I’ll have to keep this one in mind. Thanks for the review!
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Lindsey Klaus
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Latest Review: Island Games by Caleb J. Boyer

Post by Lindsey Klaus »

maggi3 wrote: 05 Aug 2019, 13:49 I’ve read some mixed reviews about this book. I like that the author was able to make something positive out of the tragedy he faced. I also like the concept of the book, but I wish he had provided more details. I’ll have to keep this one in mind. Thanks for the review!
Thank you for commenting! :D That's really the biggest criticism I have, too,, is that there needed to be more description. We get a base idea of their surroundings and situation, but it's left pretty ambiguous for the most part. That being said, I still found it enjoyable and it made for an entertaining fast read. It can easily be read in a few sittings without problem, depending on your reading speed, of course. I liked a lot of the bonding and the story behind the story is definitely inspiring.
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Post by nooregano »

Wow, I've had this book in my review options for a long time. I didn't know it was written by a 12-year-old! That's quite impressive! Of course, the writing style at this age is still a bit raw, but the author shows great potential! Thanks for this review, Lindsey! It was very objective and thorough in its analysis!
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Lindsey Klaus
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Post by Lindsey Klaus »

nooregano wrote: 14 Aug 2019, 00:28 Wow, I've had this book in my review options for a long time. I didn't know it was written by a 12-year-old! That's quite impressive! Of course, the writing style at this age is still a bit raw, but the author shows great potential! Thanks for this review, Lindsey! It was very objective and thorough in its analysis!
Thank you! I was also very surprised to find out it was written by a 12-year-old. It's very advanced for his age, while having room for growth as he gets older. I'm honestly curious to see how his craft shifts the older he gets. He shows a lot of promise!
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Post by Kelyn »

I reviewed this book as well. Caleb, as you said, is a promising author with a potentially bright future. I saw a couple of additional things that were slightly darker in the book, but given his background and the tragedy he had suffered, they are completely understandable. I enjoyed reading your review. One thing I love about this club is being able to see books from different perspectives.
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Latest Review: Island Games by Caleb J. Boyer

Post by Lindsey Klaus »

Kelyn wrote: 31 Aug 2019, 19:13 I reviewed this book as well. Caleb, as you said, is a promising author with a potentially bright future. I saw a couple of additional things that were slightly darker in the book, but given his background and the tragedy he had suffered, they are completely understandable. I enjoyed reading your review. One thing I love about this club is being able to see books from different perspectives.
Agreed! I felt curious and ended up reading your review of it as well. I love being able to find different and similar opinions on the same book. There is definitely some inner darkness being fought by the characters. The author had a pretty uneasy time growing up so, like you said, I agree that you can see shades of it in his writing. I love how he emphasizes perseverance so much because of this.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Love to know other people's thoughts!
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Post by Prisallen »

This book seems to show a lot of promise for the young author who wrote it. Thank you for a wonderful review!
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Post by Lindsey Klaus »

Prisallen wrote: 04 Sep 2019, 07:38 This book seems to show a lot of promise for the young author who wrote it. Thank you for a wonderful review!
It certainly does! I think he will mature into a very talented writer. Thank you for taking the time to read my review and comment, it's appreciated! :tiphat:
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Post by corinaelena »

The plotline shows great potential. However, I hate simplistic writing, it makes me unable to connect to the characters. Great review!
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Lindsey Klaus
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Post by Lindsey Klaus »

corinaelena wrote: 06 Sep 2019, 11:54 The plotline shows great potential. However, I hate simplistic writing, it makes me unable to connect to the characters. Great review!
Yes, unfortunately the style is very basic. You can tell it's amateur, though it still manages to be fun and exciting. Thank you for reading and commenting! :D
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Post by Wyland »

I'm impressed this was written by a 12 year old as it looks quite through. Thanks for the insightful review.
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Post by rumik »

Very impressive that a 12-year-old wrote this. I was writing stories at 12 but never had the drive/determination to actually finish one, let alone a whole book. Thanks for the well-written review!
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