I received a review copy from the publisher for free, in exchange for a honest review. This does not affect the content of my review in any form.
Author: Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Published by: Chicken House Books on 4th May 2017
Genres: Middle-Grade, Contemporary, Family, Diverse
Links: Goodreads | Wordery | Hive | Kindle
There are some places you would not want to go. Even if I told you that we have oceans filled with sea turtles and dolphins, or forests lush with parrots that call through air thick with warmth... Nobody comes here because they want to.
The island of no return.
Ami lives with her mother on an island where the sea is as blue as the sky. It’s all she knows and loves, but the arrival of malicious government official Mr Zamora changes her world forever: her island is to be made into a colony for lepers. Taken from her mother and banished across the sea, Ami faces an uncertain future in an orphanage. There she meets a honey-eyed girl named for butterflies, and together they discover a secret that will lead her on an adventure home. Ami must go back to the island of no return, but will she make it in time?
I don't think a few paragraphs of words - even a thesis - could ever explain my feelings surrounding this book. It has pretty much blown my mind out of the water. It sent me reeling over the edge of my seat, snatched my heart with its delicate claws and tore it to shreds. It has become my absolute downfall.
I shouldn't be surprised - I fell head over heels in love with Kiran's debut The Girl of Ink & Stars which became an award winning novel for Waterstones Children's Book Prize and very well deserved indeed. Kiran has nailed it with another masterpiece, another award winning novel that deserves to be placed on a pedestal in the publishing industry. She has amazed me with another gut-wrenching, highly imaginative and vivid story about a young girl's journey through brutal obstacles that life has thrown at her. This is a story about love, between a mother and her daughter, about friendship and the hardships of being someone of colour. It is the perfect blend of genres that is suitable for any human to read.
Kiran's writing, as usual has a smooth silky flow, a rather spine-tingling feel like the words are singing from the pages as you read on. It's the most sensational experience, one I'd love to live through over and over. Her words capture you, mind, heart and soul. Very engrossing.
The story has key elements that I feel I've always been looking for that lack within the publishing world. Strong sense of character development, family relationships where parental figures feel real and well structured, friendships that are filled with life and love - and to top it all, a diverse cast of characters and the most beautiful setting. The imagery is insane and I'll never forget it.
The Island at the End of Everything has raised the bar for all middle-grade novels out there and is worthy of receiving the title as one of the greatest books written in 2017. If not ever. Enthralling, majestic and beautifully written til the very last word - this is a story that needs to be shared with all. A story that needs to be read, remembered and cherished.