The Other Side of the Island

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Powell's Books

Published by: Razorbill
Release Date: May 14, 2009
Pages: 288
ISBN13: 978-1595141965


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 no not fit disappear, and they don't ever come back.

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“Gripping and creepily prescient”
—The Village Voice

“Fans of dystopic fiction will want to check this out—there’s certainly much material for discussion and debate.”
—Horn Book

“. . .in her first work of science fiction, acclaimed novelist Allegra Goodman offers a thrilling futuristic fantasy set after global warming has melted the polar ice caps and the remaining humans live on mountain peak “islands” in a global sea Goodman tells her story from the perspective of 10-year-old Honor Greenspoon, who has just arrived on Tropical Island 365 with her free-spirited parents, who break the rules by having a second child and ignoring curfews. It’s an enclosed world run by a corporation, where the color of the sky is regulated, where medicated citizens have no memory, and where conformity and obedience are valued, and independent thought is punished. (Censors go through books snipping references to bad weather; the cyclone is removed from “The Wizard of Oz.”) Goodman brilliantly conceives this perfect world, slowly revealing the shocking underpinnings of this new order. It’s a sobering look at the rights of the individual weighed against social order in a time of scarcity and fear. It’s also fascinating as a coming-of-age novel: Honor at first rejects her parents as she tries to fit in, then finds herself on her own and forced to think for herself.

The explosive finale and Honor’s role come as a shock after the deliberate pace of the rest of the novel but the Young Adult target audience will find it gripping.”
—The Buffalo News

“Allegra Goodman alludes to a number of children's classics in The Other Side of the Island, including Bridge toTerabithia, The Wizard of Oz and The Secret Garden. It's a risky ploy, inviting comparison to beloved books. But in Goodman's case, it pays off, as this gripping, beautifully written novel may one day join their ranks.

Goodman, the author of several acclaimed adult novels and a National Book Award finalist, does a stellar job with this, her first book for young readers. The story's dystopia is at once original and frighteningly familiar to anyone conversant in Orwellian doublespeak. And Honor is an appealingly conflicted heroine, torn between her need for acceptance and a growing realization that the price for conformity is not just her own memories, but the lives of those she loves most . . .

. . . The Other Side of the Island is dark but shot with sly humor, and the narrative grows increasingly satisfying as Earth Mother's web of conspiracies and denial unravels. Goodman has written a bracing, exhilarating novel that manages to be both subversive and optimistic. Earth Mother and Big Brother better watch out.”
—Washington Post

“A dark vision rendered in wonderful and imaginative detail, The Other Side of the Island . . . Goodman's story is timely and disturbing. It's also a book that's likely to be read in one sitting. The story is that well-paced . . .”
—The Los Angeles Times

“. . . a top notch genre piece . . .”
Publishers Weekly, starred review