Wednesday, 9 March 2016

The Island by Olivia Levez

Frances is alone on a small island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. She has to find water and food. She has to survive. And when she is there she also thinks about the past. The things that she did before. The things that made her a monster. Nothing is easy. Survival is hard and so is being honest about the past. Frances is a survivor however, and with the help of the only other crash survivor, she sees that the future is worth fighting for.

Fran is a teenage delinquent, on her way to a team building course with other trouble makers when their plane goes down in the Indian ocean. Told in alternate min chapters, past and present mixed together as all Fran can do is dwell on the past and what got her here.

Fran was sometimes difficult to like but she has struggled through and lashes out when she's angry and shrinks back into herself when she's scared. Plus she has had a load of crap happen to her, especially in her home life with a rubbish mother, an awful mum's-boyfriend but a great little brother. On the island, Fran has literally no survival skills but, come on, who does? But she is pretty smart and learns to build a shelter and crack coconuts and fish. And then a dog turns up, and the dog leads her to another survivor.

This took me by surprise. I was worried I wouldn't be able to comfortably read it as the prose and mini chapters were so disjointed but it worked, really well. We saw what made Fran tick and what, exactly, bought her here and how much horrible stuff she's had to put up with. Fran had a tough exterior but seeing her past and inside her head, it was hard not to feel for her. All in all, a rather surprising read with interesting characters and character studies.

Published 3rd march 2016 by OneWorld Publications. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

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