cover image The Island

The Island

Olivia Levez. Rock the Boat (PGW, dist.), $9.99 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-78074-859-7

Levez’s debut captures the emotional journey of 16-year-old Frances Stanton, one of a plane full of British juvenile delinquents and camp staffers headed to a skills-based intervention on an Indonesian island. When the plane crashes, Frances reaches a deserted island with few supplies, where she struggles to find food, water, and shelter among sharks and poisonous plants. With a dog as her only companion, Frances faces painful memories of her family back home, including her ill mother, her half-brother, and her mother’s lecherous boyfriend. Through short chapters, Levez effortlessly balances Frances’s past, present, and imagined future, including vivid flashbacks of her home life and acts of retaliation against a well-meaning teacher. After a storm hits, Frances meets another survivor, Rufus, whose prescriptive habits cause friction. Their relationship moves from rocky to companionable, but when food runs low and Rufus lands in a dire situation, Frances must find a way off the island to save her newfound friend. Echoing O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins, Levez’s story will keep readers riveted as determined, hard-edged Frances fights to survive. Ages 13–up. Agent: Clare Wallace, Darley Anderson Literary. (Sept.)