Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's
Publication Date: 1st Apr 2010
From AmazonOtto, Jen and Charlotte have planned the trip of a lifetime to India for their gap year, before going their separate ways to university. For Charlotte, it's an opportunity to get involved in an environmental project and finally feel like she's doing something worthwhile; for Otto, it's the perfect opportunity to take some real photos to help his career as a photojournalistic; for Jen, it's the realisation of a lifelong dream. But when Otto discovers the body of a girl on the beach, things take a sinister turn as he finds himself a prime suspect in her murder. Together Otto, Charlotte and Jen start to unravel the mystery behind the girl's death. Can they discover the truth and clear Otto's name and even if they do will they be able to handle what they find as their dreams of paradise crumble around them...
I first came across Sarah Singleton when her book The Amethyst Child was nominated for the Manchester Book Award 2008, as I was participating in it. I got the chance to meet her and get my book signed, and she also came to visit our school and do a talk and creative workshop. I really liked The Amethyst Child and I know lots of my friends enjoyed some of her other novels, so expected a thrilling story in The Island.
The story is about Otto, Jen and Charlotte, who are taking a trip to Goa to search for adventure; Their plans are somehow twisted, when the more independent Otto, who travels before the two girls, is suddenly caught up in a murder investigation. The murder of Maria, a pretty young girl, who Otto has taken a shine to. Otto found her floating in the water just hours after they spoke.
Although this is Otto's mess, him saying things he really shouldn't have, the trio stick together, Jen and Charlotte being very supportive of his mistakes in a completely foreign country, while they get pulled into the dangerous lives of drug dealers, bent cops, and nasty criminals.
I thought the characters were very balanced, I liked Jen's calm personality and how she had always believed in herself, steadily reaching for her dreams..her spiritual experience in paradise..how she knew that it was Otto and Charlotte that she was destined to travel with, her duty to help them in ways they didn't even think possible.
I thought the flashbacks of when the three characters met was nice. I think it worked better than in other stories because it was easier to understand the characters, being revealed as the story and it's progressed. Otto, Jen and Charlotte were very realistic and three dimensional with appealing styles, each different to the others.
The book was very well-written and extremely descriptive - I had my eyes closed pretty much throughout the whole book, picturing the stunning scenery of India.
Although I had some pretty good suspections, Maria's murderer was not revealed in the end; I felt their was lots of unfinished business and weird tension.
A true murder mystery filled with captivating language, an original storyline and a shady trip that takes an unexpected turn.