I requested to read this book via Netgalley. My thanks go to the publishers for approving my request. This review forms my honest opinion.
Welcome to The Island.
Where your worst fears are about to come true…
It was supposed to be the perfect holiday: a week-long trip for six teenage friends on a remote tropical island.
But when their guide dies of a stroke leaving them stranded, the trip of a lifetime turns into a nightmare.
Because someone on the island knows each of the group’s worst fears. And one by one, they’re becoming a reality.
Seven days in paradise. A deadly secret.
Who will make it off the island alive?
The publicity for this book likens it to a Lost meets Hunger Games hybrid, and I have to say as a huge fan of both (like, OBSESSED with Lost back in the day) I was sold! The Island is the author’s second YA offering, sitting alongside an impressive catalogue of psychological thrillers for adults. I’ll admit that I haven’t read anything by C.L. Taylor before, and so had nothing to compare to personally – but I had heard great things and went in with high expectations.
I liked the concept that these six friends weren’t necessarily friends by choice, but that they had been put into this circle by chance of them being born in the same place at around the same time, their parents attending the same antenatal group. That they’re not in each others pockets and generally have their own lives outside of the holidays they all go on annually added a really interesting angle to the plot.
The group are ‘stranded’ on a desert island for a week with a guide as part of a survival experience, only for the guide to die in front of them. Stranded for real, they’re soon terrified by strange goings on which seem to target the worst fears of each of the group.
Told in the main from the perspectives of two of the teenagers, Jess – who is recovering from an unknown traumatic experience which unravels as the book progresses, and Danny, an alpha male who is madly in love with Honor, another member of the group. Secrets are revealed and truths told and discovered as the novel races on.
It’s a brilliant setting for a novel, and the sense of place is fantastic throughout. Despite the outdoor living and open skies, there is a sense of stifling claustrophobia throughout as events intensify, the expanse of this beautiful tropical island, shrinking page by page.
It’s a wonderful novel, and it takes on some tough themes, mental health being front and centre. It became far darker than I was anticipating with it being YA and it was all the better for it, adding a stark edge of reality just as it is needed.
This book was an absolute blast to read, it hooked me quickly and didn’t let go. I love it when I find a book that can give me bubbles of excitement, encouraging me to steal time hither and thither to just so that I can find out what happens next! As the first book I’ve read by C.L. Taylor, it has been quite the introduction! I’m very much looking forward to exploring the back catalogue over the course of the year!