3 out of 4 stars
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When I learned that Caleb J. Boyer was only twelve years old when he wrote Island Games: Mystery of the Four Quadrants, I was immediately intrigued. I don't think I have ever before read a novel by a young author like him. I picked up the book, read it, and enjoyed it. What an accomplishment for such a young writer!
The book tells us about the adventure of Matthew and Ryan, two teenage boys and best friends. They wake up on a deserted island one morning, with no memory of how they got there. Without food, drinks, or any other necessities, they realize they need to get off the island but have no idea how. They start exploring and encounter plenty of challenges on their way around the island. Every problem is different from the previous one, and the friends quickly understand they need to work together to survive and find their way back home.
I like the pace of the story. Each chapter brings a new element, whether it's a challenge, supplies, or an insight. Each chapter also ends with a promise of more to happen in the next one, a small cliffhanger. In a clever way, the reader is invited to continue reading to learn what Matthew and Ryan will have to deal with next. I also like the interaction between the two friends. They laugh, play, joke, tease, and come across as your typical teenagers in an atypical setting. Friendship and cooperation are prominent themes throughout the book.
Unfortunately, there were also some elements I liked less. The author is quite often repetitive in his choice of words. For example, I want to mention the reference 'this time', which is used three times in four sentences. I was not impressed with the end of the story. I do appreciate the author adding a message explaining why the book ends this way, and there is a pleasant little surprise at the end of that message. Still, I would have preferred the meaning to be clear from the writing itself without needing an additional message. For the reasons as mentioned above, I give one less point and rate this book 3 out of 4 stars.
I recommend this book to young adults and not-so-young adults who appreciate an easy, pleasant read. There is no profanity or adult content, very few typos, and as such, the book is suitable for all.
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