Thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins and HQ for the ARCs of this book. N.B. I read the first couple of chapters of the written copy and then switched to the audiobook.
‘The Island’ is a YA thriller which follows six teenagers on holiday in Thailand who are stranded on an island where their worst fears start to come true.
It feels a bit like Lord of the Flies mixed with The Beach. It’s a fun, fast-paced read with some exciting sections, but never really feels that high stakes or scary.
I loved the idea of this book. It could have been absolutely thrilling. I thought it was genius to gather a group of teenagers together who are friends because their parents met in their NCT class. This was a perfect setup because they would have known each other their whole lives but wouldn’t necessarily see each other regularly which could lead to distrust and misunderstandings.
Unfortunately, there is a fundamental flaw with the structure of the book. There are two narrators, one is in the first person and one is in the third person. This spoils the whole premise of the book because it signposts immediately who is the ‘villain’ of the piece. You immediately know there must be some information being held back or some kind of unreliable narration going on, otherwise both narrators would be written from the same perspective. It signposts that the danger is coming from within the group and narrows the potential of the storytelling.
I found the final reveal of what was going on completely obvious and unsurprising, despite the book’s attempt to make it an amazing twisty reveal. It completely fell flat for me. Possibly a teenager who has read fewer books would be less likely to spot this problem with the mechanics of the storytelling and would be blindsided by the ending, but I’d be surprised as I found the twist so heavily signposted.
The audiobook has two narrators. I thought the female narration was good but found the male narrator’s voice a bit grating, although he definitely sounded more like a teenager.