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14 May 2010 @ 11:43 pm
Book Review: The Other Side of the Island  
Title: The Other Side of the Island
Author: Allegra Goodman
Pages: 280
Genre: YA. Is Dystopian society a genre?

(Cover copy)
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 not fit disappear, and they don't ever come back.


I found this painted society quite interesting. The world building was rather deft, done as the girl grew up some. It was, in fact, the best part of the world, the society it was set in and the people set against it. You can infer from facts and statements that this is supposed to be our world set in the future: after the polar caps melt, and the world floods, leaving only islands, and after the wars that followed. Earth Mother rose up, and seeing the people's need, created the Corporation and New Weather.

It is told from Honor's POV, and she isn't the most reliable narrator in some ways, for she is only ten/eleven, and she is indoctrinated with the Way Things Should Be. I foudn the use of caps in the book to be effected. "It's Unsafe. Unacceptable. Not Allowed." Etc.

The ending leaves me hanging, just a smidge. I liked how it ended; in some ways, it could be satisfying because of the wording you see sprinkled throughout. And yet, it could be taken the other way too, so you don't know for certain what happens eventually. It could even be open to a sequel, though I didn't see any hint of one on the author's website.

I did enjoy the thoroughly dystopian society, though, just like I enjoy Armageddon stories--often, they go hand in hand. It was worth the $4 sale price I paid for the book. And the open-ish ending will have me thinking for awhile.

I do recommend it if you like this sort of book. Honor grows and changes and it's interesting.

Rating: 5 out of 10 -- good, relatively well written, but I wouldn't have paid full price for it. An entertaining few hours.

If you read it, let me know. I'd love to know what any of you think.

(And of course, I'm using it for fic idea fodder. Go me.)
babsbybend: sunrise over Pilot Buttebabsbybend on May 15th, 2010 05:57 am (UTC)
Is Dystopian society a genre? Yes.

"The Giver"
"Gathering Blue"
"Fahrenheit 451"

short story:"Consider Her Ways"

Any number of Star Trek episodes from any of the series.
Gelseygelsey on May 15th, 2010 07:45 pm (UTC)

Yup. Haven't read all of those, but I've heard of them.

Oh yes, definitely Star Trek.