“Scar Island” by Dan Gemeinhart
published by Scholastic, 2017, 249 pages
Appeals to 5th to 7th graders
“The jerks are gone,” he said. “We can do. Whatever. We. Want.”
This fast paced thriller will keep you reading until the last page. The story is set in a Dickensian prison reformatory on an island. The men who oversee the boys, “scabs”, are scheming and sadistic. One of the unfortunate boys, Jonathan, is convicted of arson. Jonathan has his own guilt to come to terms with and consequently feels he needs to be punished. He arrives by boat to sit out his sentence in this foul place that, contrary to public perception, is dangerous with labyrinthine corridors, large rats and storms at sea. Fear, however, is the unexpected human element. When you come to the end of the book, another twist awaits you – a good one.
The story takes several unexpected turns which make it hugely entertaining. Parallels to Lord of the Flies by William Golding and other literature will make this a savvy read for anyone in Upper Elementary and Middle School.
Visit Dan Gemeinhart at his website and find out about his two other novels: Some Kind of Courage and The Honest Truth.