4 out of 4 stars
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They awakened on the shore of an island with few memories and no clue how they got there or why they were there! Matthew and Ryan are two friends who find themselves in quite the mysterious predicament in Island Games: Mystery of the Four Quadrants by Caleb J Boyer.
Matthew and Ryan find themselves on a sandy beach of what appears to be a tropical island. With a volcano behind them and the ocean in front, they must find a way to survive and find a way of escape. They see a boat out in the water and hope they can swim to it and find help. Unfortunately, the trip to the boat produces more questions about this mysterious situation than answers. They know the island is their best option at this point, so their adventure continues as they brave the shark-infested waters to get back to the island.
Eventually, Matthew and Ryan realize that they are playing some sort of game and must pass the series of tests the island presents. They are taken through each of the four quadrants on the island. Each has its own ambiance, its own challenges, and its own beasts! But why? Why are they on this island? Why are they being tested? And what are these other memories or visions they are having of another mysterious location? Are they really on an island? Are they dreaming? Who’s doing this to them? These are the questions you will ask as you read through this mysterious story.
What I liked about the story was the interaction between the boys and what they learned in the process. I enjoyed the sense of humor and some of the typical boyish bantering. I will admit that the scope of emotions felt by the characters seems a bit shallow, however, the book is more about what the boys learn through the process than about developing all the emotional facets of their characters. As you work your way through the story, you will see how Matthew and Ryan learn valuable life lessons along the way. Among other things, the boys realize they are in this together and it is only together that they can work their way out of this place.
The book is well written, in a simple to read format, and well edited. I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars! I highly recommend this book for pre-teen and teenage readers. Boyer, being a pre-teen when he wrote the book, has a keen sense for how to tell a story while integrating lessons that he has learned. One of the things that really struck me is how the two boys genuinely apologized to one another when they had hurt or endangered the other. Many adults don’t even know how to apologize well, but these boys demonstrate how an apology should be done.
The book has an intentional cliffhanger at the end, but also has a link to more information about one of the mysteries in the book. I look forward to more from this young author.
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