cover image Bomb Island

Bomb Island

Stephen Hundley. Hub City, $25.95 (220p) ISBN 979-8-88574-025-8

Hundley (The Aliens Will Come to Georgia First) mashes up Mark Twain and Shakespeare with a colorful adventure story about two star-crossed teen lovers. Fish, a 14-year-old orphan from Atlanta, lives on Bomb Island off the Georgia coast, raised in a dwindling commune by a woman named Whistle. Remaining members include a young man named Reef, with whom Fish operates a glass-bottom tour boat, and an old man who’s been missing for weeks. In Fish’s care is Sugar, his ever-hungry pet white tiger. Tensions flare with Mr. Derbier, owner of a fishing charter, who relentlessly bullies the group for their illegal possession of Sugar and tries to shut down their tour business. Eager to socialize with others his age, Fish begins hanging out with a scrappy group of kids on the mainland and meets a pretty girl named Celia, slightly older than him, who turns out to be Derbier’s daughter. During a party at the Derbiers’ house, Celia and Fish get into a violent altercation with her drunken father, and flee for the island. Unfortunately, Bomb Island is no longer a safe haven, as the increasingly voracious Sugar attacks Fish and decimates the island’s wild pony population. Hundley demonstrates remarkable narrative control as the islanders scramble to outwit the jungle beast they’d befriended and evade the dangerous Derbier. Once this story sinks its claws into the reader, there’s no shaking it. (May)