cover image The Island

The Island

Natasha Preston. Delacorte, $12.99 paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-5934-8149-3

A gothic-inspired theme park on a remote island serves as the eerie setting of this high-octane thriller by Preston (The Fear). Sixteen-year-old true crime vlogger Paisley, alongside five other teen social media influencers, is invited to an exclusive first look at a new amusement park situated on an artificially built island. Upon arrival, the teens meet the island’s eccentric billionaire owner Malcolm, a seemingly gracious host, who requests that they post about their visit for their respective online followings. Though the park itself is jam-packed with exciting rides, there are few staff members to be found, prompting Paisley to feel uneasy. With a storm approaching, Paisley realizes that Will, one of the influencers, has gone missing; the only boat off the island has disappeared; and cell service is mysteriously jammed. When Will’s slashed corpse is found in an ice cream cart, Paisley and the rest of the attendees must work together to ensure collective survival. Though the premise is standard fare, Preston utilizes the uniqueness of the human-made island setting to great effect, providing an impish playfulness to the steadily escalating stakes and body count. Most characters cue as white; one influencer and an island employee are Black. Ages 12–up. (Feb.)