Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Other Side of The Island


Goodman, Allegra. 2008. The Other Side of the Island.

First paragraph chapter one: All this happened many years ago, before the streets were air-conditioned. Children played outside then, and in many places the sky was naturally blue. A girl moved to a town house in the Colonies on Island 365 in the Tranquil Sea.

Back cover: About this island, Honor knows this much is true: Enclosure means safe and secure. Different is dangerous. Disappear means no one here. And Earth Mother is always watching.

Jacket flap: In the eighteenth glorious year of Enclosure, long after The Flood, a young girl named Honor moves with her parents to Island 365 in the Tranquil Sea. Life on the tropical island is peaceful--there is no sadness and no visible violence in this world. Earth Mother and her Corporation have created New Weather. Sky color is regulated and it almost never rains. Every family fits into its rightful, orderly, and predictable place...
Except Honor's. Her family does not follow the rules. They ignore curfew, sing songs, and do not pray to Earth Mother. Honor doesn't fit in with the other children at the Old Colony School. Then she meets Helix, a boy who slowly helps her uncover a terrible secret about the Island: Sooner or later, those who do not fit disappear, and don't ever come back.

The Other Side of The Island is dystopian fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction. At some point in the future, Earth is devastated by a terrible, tremendous Flood. An event that wipes out 90% of human life. The survivors band together--and Earth Mother along with seven council members who become the Corporation--seek to restore Earth and protect humanity forever and ever. The enclosure. Wanting to "protect" humanity by enclosing the islands--creating ceilings for Earth Mother's colonies. This is the basic premise for the novel.

The novel is interesting. It did hold my attention throughout. While I felt it was perhaps a bit more premise-driven than character-driven, a handful of characters are fully developed. I've read reviews that mention they (as readers) had no attachment to the characters, to Honor and her family, but I can't say that I agree with them. At least not completely. While Honor isn't perhaps as compelling a narrator as Jonas is from The Giver or Lina and Doon from The City of Ember, her story has its moments. And judging it just on the 2008 competition, I would say it's more than able to hold its own. (I've read The Resistance (sequel to The Declaration), The Inferior, Gem X, Shift, In the Company of Whispers, Neptune's Children, Fearless, and The Sky Inside. And I've also read The Diamond of Darkhold, the fourth in the Ember series.)

The book is built around a few too many coincidences for me. Slight spoiler: (The mother just *happens* to teach her daughter to count in base two so that four or five years later when the mother is captured, she can--while supposedly in a semi-permanent drug-induced trance--communicate a secret message to her daughter while decorating a cake. The daughter just happened to be there on a field trip to the bakery when she notices that one of the workers is in fact her *disappeared* mother.) End of spoiler. But when it comes down to it, you can let those things bug you to the point where they drive you crazy, or you can get over it and try to enjoy it for what it is.

One of the more interesting aspects of the novel was how it transformed texts to match this new society's needs. The Lord's Prayer, for example, became the Corporate Creed:

Our Councilors who are seven. Corporation is your name. Your plan to come, Enclosure done--on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And correct all our trespasses. As you correct those who trespass against us. And lead us not into Inaccuracy, but deliver us from lies. For ours is the planet and the power and the glory. Amen.

Reading is subjective. And some books it takes time to really evaluate. For example, a book can leave you with an impression--a genuine impression, a strong one--yet sometimes a few weeks or a few months later, you could have forgotten all about it. Or your impression has weakened or lessened. It doesn't stay with you like you thought it might. And with dystopias, it is often the lasting impression that matters. I can read a dozen dystopias a year...but when it comes down to it...The Giver is the only one that is able to hold onto the top spot year after year after year. It's that rare and spectacular book that from the moment it was published became a classic. It's too soon for me to know if Honor's story will "stick" with me now that I've finished the book.

I would certainly recommend the book to those readers (like me) who can't get enough of either dystopian and/or post-apocalyptic fiction. The book isn't perfect, isn't even practically perfect, but I found it entertaining and interesting. And I think it was worth my time.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comments:

Debi 12:46 PM  

It's definitely going on to my wish list! Thanks yet again, Becky!

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge
Linked to sign up page

Family Tree Reading Challenge

Family Tree Reading Challenge
Link to sign-up page

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge
Linked To Sign Up Page

2018 Charity Challenge (Sign Up)

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge
Link to sign up page

2018 Picture Book Challenge

2018 Picture Book Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge
click image to go to sign up post

Good Rules Cheat List

Board books and picture books = new is anything published after 2013
Early readers and chapter books = new is anything published after 2013
Contemporary (general/realistic) = new is anything published after 2007
Speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy = new is anything published after 2007
Classics = anything published before 1968
Historical fiction = new is anything published after 2007
Mysteries = new is anything published after 1988
Nonfiction = new is anything published after 2007
Christian books = new is anything published after 2000
Bibles = new is anything published after 1989

My Blog List

(Old) Challenge Participants

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP