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The Island

de M.A. Bennett

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413619,025 (3.67)Cap
Seven students. One plane crash. No rules. Link is a fish out of water. Newly arrived from America, he is finding it hard to settle into the venerable and prestigious Osney School. Who knew there could be so many strange traditions to understand? And what kind of school ranks its students by how fast they can run round the school quad - however ancient that quad may be? When Link runs the slowest time in years, he immediately becomes the butt of every school joke. And some students are determined to make his life more miserable than others ...When a school summer trip is offered, Link can think of nothing worse than spending voluntary time with his worst tormentors. But when his parents say he can only leave Osney School - forever - if he goes on the trip, Link decides to endure it for the ultimate prize. But this particular trip will require a very special sort of endurance. The saying goes 'No man is an island' - but what if on that island is a group of teenagers, none of whom particularly like each other? When oppressive heat, hunger and thirst start to bite, everyone's true colours will be revealed. Let the battle commence ...… (més)
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Es mostren totes 3
Link is sent to a prestige "Sport is everything" school in England when his parents move there to teach science at university. Unfortunately for Link, he fails a "test" and becomes the lowest ranked student in the school - bullied by the jocks and PE teachers and basically everyone else.
He begs his parents to take him out of the school and put him in a normal public one, and they agree on the condition he undertake a summer camp he signed up for first.
Unfortunately, all the major ( )
  nicsreads | Aug 26, 2018 |
This is a slightly self-conscious novel as it relies upon the reader's acquaintance with other well-known 'castaway narrative' stories or 'Robinsonade', a genre I hadn't really noticed before but certainly exists. However, it is not derivative of Robinson Crusoe or Lord of the Flies. Instead, it is set firmly in the 21st century and the author also spends a major part of his writing in explaining the back-story which shows the school where the protagonists have demonstrated their personalities and relationships for three years prior to their isolation upon the island.

The seven teenagers all reveal hidden depths, develop and mature, learn to interact in more meaningful ways. We see this entirely through the eyes of one of the boys, Link, who has as much to learn as anyone else.

There are some plot niggles which may only strike you afterward if you read 'The Island' at the page-turning pace I did. This is a pretty good YA novel which I found to be highly original and a gripping read. ( )
  urutherford | Aug 14, 2018 |
Since moving, as a very young child, from the West Coast of America to Oxford with his parents, Lincoln Selkirk, known as Link at home, had been educated at home by them. As professors in the Behavioural Sciences Department they were well-qualified to teach him all the sciences but, with the freedom which goes with being academics, they were also able, on a whim, to take time out to “ditch” schoolwork and go out on visits to museums, or to Stratford-upon-Avon to feed the swans and then watch a play at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Although they were fun, these trips also had an educational element, something which suited Link because he was always eager to learn. His early childhood was a happy time, with the freedom to spend time gaming, reading, making models and sharing his parents’ discovery of the delights of BBC Radio 4, especially Desert Island Discs. However, when he was thirteen his parents informed him that, because he was already outpacing them in some subjects, and so that he could prepare for GCSE exams, he would need to go to school. Also, as he had spent his life interacting mainly with adults, they were keen for him to learn to socialise with youngsters of his own age and so they enrolled him in a prestigious private school in Oxford, a perk offered to the children of dons.
Suddenly Link’s life changed: gone was the glorious freedom and happiness of his earlier years, to be replaced by a life which was bound by rules and traditions he didn’t understand. With the school’s emphasis on sporting achievements, Link’s total lack of experience of participating in games other than digital ones, put him at an immediate disadvantage. Consequently, he failed spectacularly when, at the initiation ceremony of racing around the school quad, he scored the slowest-recorded time for many years, thus marking the start of the living hell that his school days were to become for the next three years. Bullied at school, as well as via social media, he struggles to cope and finally informs his parents that he is determined to leave school once he has done his GCSEs. They aren’t happy about this but agree that he can do so, on condition that he goes on a two-week school summer camp first. He is apprehensive about spending so much time with his tormentors but, having survived three years, surely he can put up with another two weeks? However, when the light plane taking them to their destination crashes onto an island, he is faced with having to spend twenty-four hours a day with the six students who have made his life such a misery and wonders how he will manage.
This engaging story explores how individuals react in group situations and how, at times of crisis, the previous roles people have taken on, or had assigned to them, can change as the dynamics of the group alter. Most of the action takes place on the island but in the early chapters the behaviour of each of the characters had been explored through the roles they had all been accustomed to playing during the previous three years. This enables the reader to gain a greater depth of understanding of the ways in which each person is forced to adapt to the new circumstances. Any new environment requires different skills and knowledge and, with the old rules and traditions now being inappropriate, new ones need to be established and negotiated, leading to a shift in the balance of power within the group. All the young people change as their incarceration on the island continues, discovering that you don’t have to accept an allocated role in life but can free yourself to discover your true potential. They also begin to recognise the value of cooperative team work.
The author deftly explores, mostly in a credible way, the ways in which these changes gradually took place and the fact that, in trying to change behaviour, and to reduce dysfunctional defences, individuals will often swing from one extreme to another before finding a balance. One example being that a person who has been bullied will often, when given power, abuse that power and become the aggressor. In this way, when Link’s previously devalued skills became the necessary “currency”, his often disagreeable and cruel behaviour, is understandable when seen as a vengeful reaction to his earlier feelings of powerlessness and rejection. At times it felt quite painful to watch this group of young people trying to navigate their way through the changes they were required to make and there were many occasions when my sympathies shifted first one way and then another. I think my emotional investment in their various struggles reflected the skills of the author in convincingly exploring their behaviour as the story progressed.
I loved the links throughout the story with the Desert Island Discs theme, with the eight “sections” of the book representing Link’s choices of music. (The choices of each of the castaways is listed at the end.) Although I very quickly guessed how the plot was going to develop, the quality of the author’s engaging writing style didn’t seriously diminish my overall enjoyment of the story and had it not been for the, in my opinion, entirely unnecessary epilogue, I might have been tempted to give it a 4* rating. I think that the ending would have been so much more intriguing and satisfying had the reader been allowed the freedom to contemplate Link’s possible future!
This contemporary twist on Lord of the Flies is likely to hold a special appeal for the Young Adult market, at which this book is aimed. However, the accounts of bullying, abuse of power, revenge, the power of group dynamics, the need for teamwork and the struggles faced by adolescents as they negotiate relationships and move towards adulthood, are just some of the universal themes which would also make this an interesting choice for reading groups.
With thanks to Readers First and Hot Key Books for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  linda.a. | Aug 4, 2018 |
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Cap

Seven students. One plane crash. No rules. Link is a fish out of water. Newly arrived from America, he is finding it hard to settle into the venerable and prestigious Osney School. Who knew there could be so many strange traditions to understand? And what kind of school ranks its students by how fast they can run round the school quad - however ancient that quad may be? When Link runs the slowest time in years, he immediately becomes the butt of every school joke. And some students are determined to make his life more miserable than others ...When a school summer trip is offered, Link can think of nothing worse than spending voluntary time with his worst tormentors. But when his parents say he can only leave Osney School - forever - if he goes on the trip, Link decides to endure it for the ultimate prize. But this particular trip will require a very special sort of endurance. The saying goes 'No man is an island' - but what if on that island is a group of teenagers, none of whom particularly like each other? When oppressive heat, hunger and thirst start to bite, everyone's true colours will be revealed. Let the battle commence ...

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