Review: Shipwreck Island by S.A. Bodeen
Genre: Middle Grade, Survival Fiction
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Expected Publication: July 29, 2014
Sarah Robinson is deeply troubled in the wake of her dad’s second marriage. She now has to deal with a new stepmom and two stepbrothers, Marco, who is her age, and Nacho, who’s younger. Even though they’ve all moved from Texas to California to start life as a new, blended family, none of the kids seem remotely happy about it.
Sarah’s dad and stepmom then decide to take the whole family on a special vacation in order to break the ice and have everyone get to know one another. They’ll fly to Tahiti, charter a boat, and go sailing for a few days. It’ll be an adventure, right?
Wrong. Dead wrong.
Something that I really enjoyed about Shipwreck Island was how untypical the family was. The young protagonists Sarah, Marco and Nacho are all struggling with their parents marriage and I think the Author captures those difficulties well. While Shipwreck Island is certainly a survival story, it is also about the merging of two very different families, with conflicting ideas and personalities under less than ideal circumstances. The story also lightly touches on the grief accompanying the loss of a loved one and betrayal issues surrounding a parents remarriage in light of that.
Now although I did like Shipwreck Island it did have a few problems that kept me from rating it higher.
First off, I didn't like how quickly the story went from the family boarding the boat to winding up shipwrecked on the island. While it is obvious they'd wind up stranded I personally could have used a few pages of them relaxing and starting to bond before everything went to hell in a hand basket.
Secondly, I do not understand why they decided to get on the boat in the first place especially, considering how unsafe it appeared on first glance. Yes, I get that Sarah's dad really wanted them all to bond but c'mon now, it's not like they were broke and this ship was their only option. Yes it might mean losing a deposit but better than risking the safety of your new wife and children.
Lastly, I really disliked the ending. While I don't mind cliffhangers I do hate feeling unsatisfied by how things wrap up. Now I will say that I read an advance copy so maybe the finished product is different but in my copy it just ended and felt like maybe several pages were still left to be told beyond that.
Final ThoughtsWith that being said, I'll be rating Shipwreck Island by S.A. Bodeen ★★★.
Shipwreck Island was a fast paced, middle grade, adventure story. While Shipwreck Island is undoubtedly geared towards young teens or tweens I can honestly recommend this for all ages. While the plot on the surface was a very superficial survival story the paranormal elements and the creeping sense of foreboding for the survivors left plenty for an adult imagination to ponder as well.
*Copy reviewed provided by publisher. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in an which way for providing them.
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