1 out of 4 stars
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Matthew and Roy wake up on an abandoned island in the middle of nowhere with no recollection of how they got there. Now, they must do whatever it takes to survive and get home. Two young boys, one island, a game of will to survive should make Island Games by Caleb J. Boye, but a lack of description and direct POV may leave the reader confused and disinterested.
The narrative starts out strong with detail descriptions as Ryan wakes up in a shocked daze on an island with his best friend. Neither recall how they got there, or why. Neither know the island, only that they must survive.
Honestly, I think this would be a great read for a middle schooler or early high schooler just learning to love reading. It’s pretty male driven, so girls may not relate easily. As someone who loves YA fiction though, I just didn’t find the concept interesting or engaging enough through out the book. Everything is really face value and doesn’t go much deeper than the surface. Boye was pretty straight forward in his approach to writing, which threw the book off balance a bit in his first few pages.
The book starts out in a single POV and then expands into a 2 person POV early on once both boys wake up. I’m pretty used to seeing ‘they’ or ‘their’ to specify a non-gendered person, but to see it used in this light really brought me out of the book. I wanted the author to focus on one character and one set of emotions. This also added the issue that the author was forced too used the ‘tell’ method of writing rather than the show, which left me feeling like I was being talked down to as a reader and just over all didn’t work for the concept of the story. We did a+b+C, “I remember we did this” just doesn’t make great narrative, especially with lacking description and I think most advanced readers will acknowledge this and stop the book half way through because of it.
The only bonus that I will give the book is that it was well edited and well structured plot wise. The idea was interesting and I respect the author for taking an old concept and making it new. I just found the authors writing style, lack of detail and lack of characterization a massive hindrance to the overall concept. After reading through the book twice, I don’t remember the characters or a lot of what happened in the story.
Because of this fact, I have to give the book a 1 out of 4 stars. It just wasn’t as engaging as it should be, even for a YA novel. Beginning, male readers will enjoy reading this book and I would recommend it to middle-school grade students, but advanced readers will most likely find the book lacking in many areas.
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