The Island is a Young Adult debut novel by Olivia Levez, due for publication in March 2016. The story is about a troubled teenaged girl, Frances Stanton, or Fran, as she sometimes allows herself to be called. Fran is a complicated person, one who is often not seen beyond the trouble she creates around her. Nobody seems to see that creating trouble might be a cry for help. Nobody seems to see that her home life is a daily struggle for survival. Teachers, social workers, the adults around her all appear to fail her.
Or is that the way Fran chooses to see it? Is it because while she’s busy reacting to being a victim, she doesn’t have to find a way out? Is it because she doesn’t want to take the steps she needs to take to protect herself? Perhaps it’s because she doesn’t want to see the good in the people around her? Could it be all of those things together, and Fran can’t trust her own actions, never mind the actions of the others around her?
Then one day, Fran is given another choice. One that puts her in a situation she could never have imagined, not even in her worst nightmares. As she struggles for survival, Fran discovers the meaning of loneliness. As she remembers her life from before, she sees herself as an impenetrable rock, marooned on an island with no means of escape.
Levez expertly unpeels memories in layers spread along the way as Fran remembers her painful past. But there were good times too, as she remembers her little brother and what happened to him. By the time Fran begins to realise that sometimes, you need to accept help in order to move forward, things start to fall apart all over again.
The Island is an excellent read, at times painful and at others, uplifting, right up to the end. Levez has created characters and situations the reader will care about long after they finish reading the novel. This book does not feel like a first novel in the writer’s expert hands – it’s a compulsive read, difficult to put down right until the end and I do hope there’s a sequel! Oliva Levez is a talented new writer and voice to look out for.
Oh, and if there are any film producers out there, this story would make a great movie…
Olivia Levez, The Island (London: Rock the Boat, 2016). Publication date: March 2016.
For more information about Oliva Levez or The Island, please follow the links below.
You can read an interview with Olivia Levez here: http://www.thereadquarterly.com/an-interview-with-olivia-levez-debut-author-of-the-island/
YouTube: ‘How to make a bra shoe’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EidLt90QXuo
YouTube: Q & A