Island Games by Caleb J. Boyer is a young adult adventure novel with non-stop action and surprises. Best friends Matthew and Ryan mysteriously wake up on a deserted island with only faint flashback memories of home. They have no idea how they got on the island, and they have no idea how to get off. Driven by hunger and the sheer will to survive, Matthew and Ryan face obstacle after obstacle while relying on each other and the mercy of the wild. The two boys soon realize that the island is anything but normal. It is filled with dangerous creatures, ever-changing climates, and limited resources. What will it take for them to survive these island games? Will they ever return to their old life?
I really enjoyed reading this book because even from the very first page there is excitement and adventure mixed in with the boys’ dry sarcasm and quick wit. Throughout the whole book, I was shocked at some of the things that happened to the two young teenagers, and I was always amazed how they ended up getting themselves out of the situation. This book has a very clear moral. It is focused on team effort, never leaving someone behind, and strength through tribulation. As the story progresses, both characters develop control, learn how to forgive one another, and deepen their friendship.
One critique I would give this book is that the same things seemed to be happening over and over. They would be hungry, search for food, face some sort of obstacle, overcome it, eat the food, be hungry again, and then repeat. This made it boring to read at times and difficult to finish. I thought the ending would all be worth it because it would be rewarding to find out the mystery of why they are on the island, but the ending really left the whole book wide open with no certain conclusion. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but I was highly disappointed with the ending.
However, I do think this is a wonderful book for more sophisticated early readers whose reading comprehension is at a higher level, but they enjoy simple and exciting plots. I would recommend this book to younger teenagers.
I would rate this book 2 out of 4 stars. I can’t give it a full score because it was difficult to read at times, and because of the ending. I do think it deserves 2 stars because of how well-written it is and for creativity. The book was clearly professionally edited, as I only noticed one grammatical error.