Review: The Island by Sarah Singleton

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Kids UK

Where did you get this book: Review copy from publisher.

Release Date: Out now.

Blurb taken from the official website of Simon and Schuster UK:

Otto, Jen and Charlotte have planned the trip of a lifetime to India for their gap year, before going their separate ways to university. For Charlotte, it’s an opportunity to get involved in an environmental project and finally feel like she’s doing something worthwhile; for Otto, it’s the perfect opportunity to take some real photos to help his career as a photojournalistic; for Jen, it’s the realisation of a lifelong dream.

But when Otto discovers the body of a girl on the beach, things take a sinister turn as he finds himself a prime suspect in her murder. Together Otto, Charlotte and Jen start to unravel the mystery behind the girl’s death. Can they discover the truth and clear Otto’s name and even if they do will they be able to handle what they find as their dreams of paradise crumble around them…

When I originally read the blurb of The Island, I didn’t think I was going to like it as thrillers are not usually my cup of tea – especially without any romance. But once I read a few pages, I found myself hooked on the mysterious, sleepy, earthy and elusive place of Goa that Sarah Singleton made as the centre piece for her story.

Otto, Charlotte and Jen made for very compelling protagonists, with all of the characters having their own distinct personalities. Otto’s character was like that of a loyal, but adolescent puppy: wanting to go off and explore on his own, very eager to please other people, but always returning to where he knows his comfort is. Charlotte was the most practical, the most sensible, and she was the take-charge person who knew what was right and what was wrong. And then there is Jen. Jen is the most fragile of the three friends, and the psychic. She was the most sensitive and saw things much deeper, and she was more aware of other people’s feelings and surroundings. And it was Jen – the most anxious of the three – who decided that they would be taking a trip to Goa.

I very much liked that we saw a narrative of each of the three friends in alternating chapters throughout the book. Each character brought something different and despite the story flicking from present to past, I was never brought out of the present story. I was so impressed with the descriptive flow of words, and the almost seductive lure they had, bringing me, the reader, firmly into the story and not wanting to leave.

The Island is not a super fast paced book with constant busy plots, but there was always something happening that never failed to keep me on my toes. I was hooked page after page, and the murder aspect of the story was a tightly woven plot that felt dangerous and scary.There were no fuzzy cotton ball characters in The Island, and there was no hiding or dimming of the graphic scenes. The scenes weren’t overly graphic, but there was no dimming down the sight of a dead body, the violence and Otto’s terrifying ordeal when captured by the people who had cast a dangerous overtone to the Island.

There was a close unity between the friends, and I did like the unrequited love aspect of the story between two of the characters (I’m a sucker for unrequited love stories *grins*). I can’t wait to see how that plays out in the sequel, and the ending was left…not open ended, but it did leave me wondering what would become of the trio, and what would the after effects be, and how it would change them.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The Island. Once in a while, reading a book that’s not in a particular genre you like, can give you a very pleasant surprise.

I give The Island 5.0 Stars.

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