Posts Tagged ‘lyssa greenfield’

Regular Read: Island, Book 3: Escape by Gordon Korman

Escape (Island, Book 3) Escape by Gordon Korman

My rating: 1 of 5 stars
By the time I got to the third book in Gordon Korman’s Island series, it was kind of a relief just to know that it would all be over soon.

To recap the events of Shipwreck and Survival (SPOILERS AHEAD, BUT THIS IS A REVIEW OF BOOK 3, SO I’D HAVE HOPED YOU’D HAVE FIGURED THAT OUT ON YOUR OWN), thirteen-year-old Luke Haggerty is framed for a crime he didn’t commit and is sent, as part of his sentence, to participate in a sailing trip with five other troubled kids. Charla Swann is an overachiever from the inner city, Will and Lyssa Greenfield are siblings who get into violent fights — Lyssa is super-smart and Will feels inadequate in comparison — Ian Sikorsky is a geek whose only contact with the outside world is the Discovery Channel, and JJ Lane is the spoiled son of a famous Hollywood director.

In the first book, their captain is swept overboard and the first mate abandons them. In the second book, they find themselves on a tiny island populated only by a wild boar and some international smugglers.

Now, in Book 3, Escape, the kids need to take drastic measures to get rescued. Will has a gunshot wound that’s gotten infected, and he needs immediate medical care. Reaching much, Korman? Geez. JJ has an idea: he’ll stow away in the criminals’ cargo plane and, if they find him, he’ll offer himself up as a hostage on account of his father being so rich and famous and all.

And the story just keeps getting more and more ridiculous from there. I don’t know; if I hadn’t read the Everest series first, then I might not have minded the ridiculousness so much. But I still think I would have minded it a little. The story starts with promise — it reminded me of Gary Paulsen’s excellent Hatchet in the beginning. But it slowly degenerated into a sensationalist tale of hiding from criminals using the most extraordinary means possible to get back home.

This sort of plot is just so trite. I wouldn’t tolerate it in a television series and I won’t brook tolerate it in a book.

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Regular Read: Island, Book 2: Survival by Gordon Korman

Survival (Island, Book 2) Survival by Gordon Korman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FROM ISLAND, BOOK 1: SHIPWRECKED. Consider yourself forewarned. There are no spoiler tags besides this one: SPOILER!! SPOILERY SPOILER TAG FOR A SPOILER!!!

Survival is the second book in Gordon Korman’s Island trilogy, and this is where the series takes a southward dip in my opinion.

Luke Haggerty has survived being shipwrecked only to find himself on a tiny island in the middle of nowhere. He and his fellow survivors Charla, Ian, and Will need to find food, fresh water to drink, shelter, and a way to get back home. To complicate their situation, Will becomes delirious with dehydration and crashes off into the jungle alone.

On the other side of the island, celebrity kid JJ Lane and Will’s sister Lyssa wash up on shore. JJ is convinced that the shipwreck is merely part of the “troubled kid” sailing program in which the kids were participating when all of this went down.

The kids find each other and a link to civilization — a small port that’s been overrun by smugglers. And that’s where the series took a bit of a dive for me. It’s just so cliché for the kids to find a link to the outside world only to discover that the only other people on the island are murderous criminals. Will’s hysteria, I could have understood. JJ’s constant name-dropping and refusal to see the truth of their situation, I could deal with. But all of that plus armed smugglers? It really made me roll my eyes.

The survival bits were decently fun, but not quite fun enough for me to really recommend this series wholeheartedly to lovers of children’s lit.

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This book could've used a smoke monster or two.

Regular Read: Island, Book One: Shipwreck by Gordon Korman

Shipwreck (Island, Book 1) Shipwreck by Gordon Korman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
These books were such an easy read that I was able to finish the entire trilogy in one day.

Gordon Korman’s Island series wasn’t as fun for me as his Everest series — possibly because the plot was a little less believable, in my opinion.

But the first book starts off in a promising way. It opens on Luke Haggerty, who’s being sent on a sailing excursion called “Charting a New Course”. He was framed by a classmate who brought a gun to school and is being forced to participate in the program as part of his sentence. The program teaches kids self-control and discipline through the hard work of sailing. Luke’s shipmates include the captain, his weaselly first mate, Mr. Radford, and a few other troubled kids.

As the book’s title leads you to believe, the kids do end up getting shipwrecked on an island. The first book covers their journey to this point. While there was a fair amount of action, I didn’t think that this series did as good a job fleshing out the characters as the Everest series did. Many of them seemed more like mere caricatures to me, especially the character of Mr. Radford.

And one detail that rather annoyed me was how one of the characters, JJ Lane, is supposed to be the son of a famous director. Korman tries to legitimize his fame by dropping names of actual celebrities, which I think was a mistake on his part. The book will not bear well with time as a result, and JJ’s relationships with these celebrities would be pretty improbable, even if he were a real celebrity kid. I personally thought it would have been better if Korman had made up celebrities instead of dropping real names.

All in all, though, I thought that Shipwreck was a fun read; not a bad way to pass time on the train.

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