Shipwreck Island by S.A. Bodeen

Shipwreck Island by S.A. Bodeen

Release Date: July 29, 2014
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Series: Shipwreck Island, Book 1
Rated: MG 11+
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

Sarah Robinson is deeply troubled in the wake of her dad’s second marriage. She now has to deal with a new stepmom and two stepbrothers, Marco, who is her age, and Nacho, who’s younger. Even though they’ve all moved from Texas to California to start life as a new, blended family, none of the kids seem remotely happy about it.

Sarah’s dad and stepmom then decide to take the whole family on a special vacation in order to break the ice and have everyone get to know one another. They’ll fly to Tahiti, charter a boat, and go sailing for a few days. It’ll be an adventure, right? 

Wrong. Dead wrong.

I had the pleasure of meeting S.A. Bodeen during ALA 2013 (very, very briefly – her book signing line was HUGE), and I really enjoyed her novel, The Raft. I was really taken by the cover illustration when I first found this book on NetGalley. Like any sane person, I am a sucker for amazing covers and I knew that I had to get my hands on this book. Shipwreck Island was a really short read, and while I don’t read that many middle grade books anymore, I still found myself intrigued by the story and left wanting more.

At first, Sarah’s character annoyed me intensely. I mean, she acts all bratty and unfriendly when her new stepmom and stepbrothers move in. However, when I think about it, if I was in Sarah’s shoes, I would TOTALLY act the same way. Sure, I mean after her mom died six years ago, her dad does deserve some happiness, but I know I would be unwilling to move on as well. So, I totally see where she’s coming from. I thought Nacho’s character was adorable, and Marco... well, let’s hope I get around to liking his character more in the next book. Ahab is adorable – and reminds me of my own dog – and I liked John and Yvonna. Great set of characters and I liked the tension that grew between them (particularly with the children), but I also enjoyed how they stuck together during tough situations.

The island – which they call Shipwreck Island (hence the book title) – that they end up stranded on is an interesting setting. Things start to get a little weird, but I’m glad. It reminds me so much of the books I used to read when I was younger and I’m yearning for that adventure-type novel again, where everything is unrealistic and in no way could happen in real life, but you wish it could happen.

I was a little confused by the ending because it cut off so abruptly that I thought the eGalley was wrong or something, but I hope that this continues into multiple books because I’ll be sure to read them. Shipwreck Island was a fun start to what looks like a promising series which middle grade readers will love immensely. Can’t wait to find out what happens next!

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