Thursday, July 12, 2012

Review: The Other Side of the Island by Allegra Goodman

Review: The Other Side of the Island
by Allegra Goodman
Published by Razorbill, 2008
278 pages

Goodreads Description:

From New York Times bestselling author Allegra Goodman comes a post apocalyptic novel about love, loss, and the power of human choice.

Honor and her parents have been reassigned to lie on the island 365 in the Tranquil Sea. Life is peaceful there, the color of the sky is regulated by Earth Mother, a corporation that controls New Weather, and it almost never rains. Everyone fits into their rightful and predictable place...

Except Honor. She doesn't fit in, but then she meets Helix, a boy with a big heart and a keep sense for the world around them. Slowly, Honor and Helix begin to uncover a terrible truth about life on the island: Sooner or later, those who are unpredictable disappear.. and they don't ever come back. 

My Review:
I spotted this book on my bookshelf, and was washed in the nostalgia of reading this story. I received the book as an arc book many years ago. That was before the blog, so naturally I wanted to share a review with my readers today.

I haven’t read a lot of dystopian novels at this point in my life, but I do love them. The Other Side of the Island has only increased my intrigue in this genre. What I loved about this novel is the idea of Mother Earth being something dangerous. The idea of Mother Earth is, at least to me, a comforting one. Mother Earth is supposed to protect her people, but in The Other Side of the Island this beautiful ideal is corrupted by propaganda and distrust. The irony of a motherly figure collecting the chaos of a ruined world together only to become the persecutor of the new world is both disturbing and thought provoking. I think this aspect of the novel is what makes me want to return to it for another read. Also, in the years since I’ve read this, I have become more aware of the global concerns that threaten the world. I wish I had been more conscious of this in my first reading as I may have related to the terror of the dystopia better.

As for the main character, I really loved Honor. Referring back to a previous review I’d written for this novel (I’d share it with you, but it mostly just summarizes the novel) I was inspired by her fight against conformity. Honor was a good heroine, and I think that, even though she was a girl heroine, this book is appropriate for both boys and girls. Honor is relatable in her defiance of tyranny despite her young age. In fact, I would say this is a good read for all ages.

My only concern with the novel were Honor’s parents, I believe they could have done better at protecting their daughter, instead of drawing so much bad attention to themselves that they were taken away. I don’t know how to describe it; they just seemed, I don’t know, a bit remote. Again, it’s been a couple of years since I read this novel, so I’m not going to pretend like I could analyze its plot and characters without a fresher read. That said, the novel is still quite fresh in my mind; it was a good story, which has stuck with me. You know, like all the good ones do.

I give this a four out of five foxes for a thoughtful and well-crafted setting and for Honor, a great heroine for all ages. Despite a few character concerns such as the parents whom, I thought, were a bit reckless, The Other Side of the Island is a fascinating read.

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