Review by Cotwani -- Island Games by Caleb J. Boyer

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Cotwani
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Review by Cotwani -- Island Games by Caleb J. Boyer

Post by Cotwani » 20 Feb 2018, 18:03

[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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The affinity towards electronics exhibited by kids in this era never ceases to amaze me. Up this to video/computer games and sky becomes the limit! My ten-year-old nephew, for example, is never bothered with reading the instructions on any computer game, instead, he just jumps right in! One or two false starts later, he begins to beat all of us in the house hands down, even though we had painstakingly studied the instructions! This seems to be a common trait in kids nowadays, thus it is no wonder that in Island Games, two boys who find themselves marooned on an island, with neither memory nor directions, jump right into overcoming life or death challenges that are almost computer-game-like!


Caleb J. Boyer became an avid reader at the very young age of four. At the age of twelve, he authored Island Games, the first of a series of adventure books. Caleb had learned through life circumstances that challenges and obstacles will always exist but favor and blessings come when one perseveres through those challenges and finds the strength to support, and be supported, by others. He infuses these life lessons and things he missed in other books into Island Games, to make it an immensely exciting adventure that reels the reader in right from the moment the two boys awake on the island. The two boys have to overcome challenges, whose rules they must learn on the go, in the jungle, prairie, desert, and highland (ice) conditions, each found in one of the four quadrants of the Island. How do these boys learn the ropes? Will they make it out of the island intact? Will they be able to confront whoever put them on the dangerous island? Read the book to find out.


The author’s writing style is articulate and conversational. The story is narrated in the third person, with humor and friendly banter. The reader can’t help rooting for the boys in this do or die race, gasping at their mishaps and near misses, and wondering with them what challenges will come next. Unfortunately, the author is elliptical throughout the book often suggesting decisions instead of having the two boys dialogue their opinions. For example on page 9 he states that ‘the boys weren’t afraid, they were hungry and had ideas of capturing the rooster and having a feast for breakfast…. instead, they decided to stick to their plan of getting to the cargo.’


I found it gratifying to watch the boys progress from a victim mentality to realizing they were not facing the challenges on the island to just survive, but the game was theirs to win. They started looking at the challenges as opportunities to grow stronger individually and collectively. I also enjoyed the straightforward plot and the reverberating themes throughout the story. These were teamwork, taking risks, using intuition and always moving forward. The story is a metaphor for life, in which to progress we need to experience the unknown, step past our fear and remain centered. We never know what tomorrow might bring, but we must always move forward, focus on our goal and live life to the fullest.


I didn’t like that at the conclusion of the story, a few questions still remained unanswered, even though the author stepped in to explain some of the lessons learned. The book had a number of grammatical mistakes most notably failure to use substantives in the possessive form. For example, page 114 talks of ‘quick thinking of Ryan’ instead of 'Ryan’s quick thinking.' However, these errors did not interfere with the flow of the story.


Due to the above reasons, I rate the book 3 out of 4 Stars, and would highly recommend it to teens who enjoy action-packed make-believe scenes and stories with an explanation of the moral lesson of the story, at the end.

******
Island Games
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Post by AbbyGNelson » 23 Feb 2018, 19:30

I'm glad you liked the story! It really is an impressive achievement for a 12 year old. I could never have accomplished anything of this scale at that age.

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Post by DathanReeves » 23 Feb 2018, 22:50

I love your review. I'm genuinely glad to know there were people not as bothered as me with the writing. Your description of Boyer sums up every reason I took my own review so seriously and struggled with finding the line.

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Post by CommMayo » 24 Feb 2018, 14:48

I really like how you start off your review with a personal story relating your nephew to the protagonists of the novel. That is a really interesting way to draw in readers to your review.

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Post by Cotwani » 24 Feb 2018, 16:39

AbbyGNelson wrote:
23 Feb 2018, 19:30
I'm glad you liked the story! It really is an impressive achievement for a 12 year old. I could never have accomplished anything of this scale at that age.
Thanks for your comments. Indeed it is a great accomplishment for Boyer at that age!

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Cotwani
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Post by Cotwani » 24 Feb 2018, 16:41

DathanReeves wrote:
23 Feb 2018, 22:50
I love your review. I'm genuinely glad to know there were people not as bothered as me with the writing. Your description of Boyer sums up every reason I took my own review so seriously and struggled with finding the line.
Thanks for your comments. I enjoyed reading your review too!

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Cotwani
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Post by Cotwani » 24 Feb 2018, 16:48

CommMayo wrote:
24 Feb 2018, 14:48
I really like how you start off your review with a personal story relating your nephew to the protagonists of the novel. That is a really interesting way to draw in readers to your review.
Thanks for your comments. Yeah, my nephew is really crazy about video games. And the protagonists also mention the last thing they remember was playing video games. If only the book was a video game, Boyer would instantly have a fan in my nephew!

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Post by kfwilson6 » 27 Feb 2018, 17:28

I love the comment about how the boys lost their victim mentality and went on to try to "win the game". I never thought about it in quite that way but I absolutely agree. Even when they did get whiney and snarky with each other, I thought that was very realistic. In trying situations, emotions and stress will overcome you despite your best efforts. I enjoyed their attempts to be "warriors" and to set aside emotions that would not help them succeed and focus on those things that would. Boyer had a very clear goal in writing this book and if he continues to develop his writing, I think he can go on to write many thought provoking stories that will engage young readers.

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Post by Sarah Tariq » 28 Feb 2018, 13:27

It's very interesting book for teenagers. That's bad to have editing mistakes. Thanks for your review. You can check out my review if you like.
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Post by kwame1977 » 29 Mar 2018, 05:50

Its a great thing to put life's lessons into writing. Experience they say is the best teacher. It amazes me also when children of today behave this way. I recently bought a new phone. I was surprised my two year son started playing games on it the first time he used it. Meanwhile, I have not seen any game on it until I saw him playing with it.

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Post by Cotwani » 05 Apr 2018, 04:42

kfwilson6 wrote:
27 Feb 2018, 17:28
I love the comment about how the boys lost their victim mentality and went on to try to "win the game". I never thought about it in quite that way but I absolutely agree. Even when they did get whiney and snarky with each other, I thought that was very realistic. In trying situations, emotions and stress will overcome you despite your best efforts. I enjoyed their attempts to be "warriors" and to set aside emotions that would not help them succeed and focus on those things that would. Boyer had a very clear goal in writing this book and if he continues to develop his writing, I think he can go on to write many thought provoking stories that will engage young readers.
I agree with all your observations. Thanks for stopping by kfwilson!!

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Cotwani
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Post by Cotwani » 05 Apr 2018, 05:00

Sarah Tariq wrote:
28 Feb 2018, 13:27
It's very interesting book for teenagers. That's bad to have editing mistakes. Thanks for your review. You can check out my review if you like.
Thanks for your feedback, Sarah. I will check out your review.

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Post by Cotwani » 05 Apr 2018, 05:15

kwame1977 wrote:
29 Mar 2018, 05:50
Its a great thing to put life's lessons into writing. Experience they say is the best teacher. It amazes me also when children of today behave this way. I recently bought a new phone. I was surprised my two year son started playing games on it the first time he used it. Meanwhile, I have not seen any game on it until I saw him playing with it.
I understand what you mean! And to think your son is only two!! Thanks for your feedback.

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Post by Bianka Walter » 05 Apr 2018, 06:58

Wow, what an accomplishment for a 12-year-old boy! I look forward to picking this one up!
Thank you so much for the review :)
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Post by Carmen-17 » 05 Apr 2018, 12:18

I completely agree Bianka! As a fourth grade teacher I would be very impressed with this author's writing.

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