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The Other Side of the Island Paperback – May 14, 2009


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Razorbill (May 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595141960
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595141965
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #355,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. From Kaaterskill Falls to Intuition, Goodman's fiction proves that she can tackle big subjects with unobtrusively graceful and perceptive prose. Her first YA offering, a dystopian eco-fantasy in which a malevolent Corporation lulls North America's few remaining inhabitants into complacency with memory-altering substances, misinformation, fake skies and a leader named Earth Mother, is a top-notch genre piece—but not her most robust storytelling. Honor is 10 when she and her parents are forcibly brought back from the supposedly uninhabitable North to Island 365; in one of the few but clever twists on convention, it is Honor's parents who actively rebel, and Honor who embraces Earth Mother's laws, at least at first. When her parents are inevitably caught, it falls (predictably) to Honor and another child to rescue them; this plot line depends on coincidence and inconsistencies, but dramatic pacing and otherwise shrewd psychological insight help camouflage these flaws. A subtle frame places an omniscient narrator in an even more distant future; in slyly casting a retrospective eye on her story, the author opens the apparent outcome to the reader's questioning, and this may be the most innovative aspect of her novel. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–8—Honor and her parents have been forcibly relocated to a seaside shack, the most dangerous living facility in this carefully constructed dystopia. In this future world, reminiscent of that in Lois Lowry's The Giver (Houghton, 1993), the Corporation, headed by the mysterious Earth Mother, has created a totally controlled society. Lands are being enclosed to protect the inhabitants from freak natural weather, and "safe" weather is created with overlays—fake sunrises and sunsets projected daily on the sky. Honor's parents refuse to conform. Honor suffers from being different, but when she meets Helix, a boy whose parents are also intent on rebelling against the Corporation, the two children must discover a way to rescue Helix's parents and Honor's mother, who have been "taken" and turned into the zombielike orderlies who mindlessly serve the government. Honor's evolution from someone willing to conform to make life easier and safer to one committed to fight for her individuality is believable. The increasingly sinister atmosphere, echoing elements of National Socialism and China's Cultural Revolution, is well done. Parodies of self-help books for children ("What It Feels Like When Parents Disappear") add grim humor. Miss Blessing, one of the Corporation toadies, with her perfectly buttoned cardigan and high sweet voice, is a particularly chilling character. A compelling science-fiction novel.—Quinby Frank, Green Acres School, Rockville, MD
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

I was born in Brooklyn in 1967, but grew up in Honolulu where I got to run around barefoot. I lived in Hawaii until I flew back east for college. I attended Harvard, where I stepped in my first slush puddle. Now I have waterproof boots because I live in Cambridge, Mass, with my family. Don't get me started on the winters here, and the snow days! When I'm not writing, I spend most of my time driving my four kids around, reading, thinking about getting some exercise (I like to swim), wondering what we should have for dinner, and occasionally indulging in some therapeutic vacuuming. Oh, and I keep a blog of my thoughts on the writing process, the books I'm reading and the literary life. You can find me at www.allegragoodman.com or join me on Facebook.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Great for read aloud.
avid reader
All it does is making you want to read more and find out what is going to happen next.
Kodi
I felt like most of the characters, especially Honor, were well developed and real.
And Another Book Read

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By DJLA531 VINE VOICE on November 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Ever since Honor moved to Island 365 with her parents from the wild Northern Islands, she's been noticing that her parents don't quite fit in. Island life is peaceful and orderly since Earth Mother enclosed what land was still inhabitable after catastrophic weather terrorized the Earth. But her parents don't worship Earth Mother like everyone else does, and they don't follow the rules. And that scares Honor, because she learns that those who are unpredictable disappear - and they don't come back.

I really liked the premise of this dystopia because the societal ills stem not from your usual far right nightmares, but from a militant form of tree hugging. Not that I'm not all for preserving our environment, but this novel asks at what cost? And the answers are chilling.

Author Allegra Goodman spends a large part of the narrative on world creation and does it fantastically well. I loved how she took well known speeches from our world such as The Lord's Prayer and The Pledge of Allegiance and twisted them into Earth Mother propaganda. Even classic literature like the Wizard of Oz has been edited to fit Earth Mother's agenda of predictability. The resulting society is scary and powerful enough that its' agents are pretty much everyone - individual villains are quite beside the point.

Against this background Honor is realistically conflicted - she wants badly to fit in and for her parents to fit in, but she doesn't want them to be taken or harmed. When the inevitable happens though, Honor wakes from her Earth Mother induced coma and comes out kicking for an edge of your seat climax and resolution not to be missed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By T. Distaso VINE VOICE on April 9, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
*sigh* I SOOO wanted to like or love this book but I just do not, I felt more let down.
Fundamentally It has the right structure and bones to make it strong. But the whole written package just does not deliver any strength or even much of a punch at all. I would lable this Dystopian lite.

My first impression is that this is not a teen level book at all, I found everything about this story to be simple and easy. Too simple and easy to reccomend it for my YA adult dystopian friends or the true Teen fantasy fans I know. I am the mother of a 8 1\2 year old and a relunctant almost 11 year old reader, this falls right into both of their reading range. In fact I would say this is the perfect introduction to dystopian reads for my 8 1\2 year old.

There is no meat in this story, the emotion does not come across in the writing at all. Even when Honor is scared for her parents I do not feel it. You can not just write Honor was scared for her parents, and expect that to be enough to build an emotional connection. I found this entire book to be truely devoid of any emotional pull, making it come across more like reading a history textbook. Some characters are only mildly developed and do not lend themselves to feeling invested to thier lives or drawn to their story, the rest are robotic. And not robotic in a good way for a dystopian coldness and ambivilance. Robotic in how they were written and developed, or lack of being developed as real humans.

*
I also have mention that the whole Octopus story just does not work for me, it only comes across as a Gimmick and does not flow. First it gets lost during the first storm, then all of a sudden Honor is feeding it in the classroom aquarium (And it attaches itself to her?!?) with not mention of it being back.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By SZAA on September 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I was completely impressed with Allegra Goodman's newest book, The Other Side of the Island. Great writing, great characters, excellent plot...what more could a teen (or adult like me) ask for?!

Honor lives in a dystopian world, years in the future. Her parents move the family to Island 365, one of only a few habitable lands left after The Flood. An ethereal figure by the name of Earth Mother and her new Corporation, lead the governmental system on Island 365 and control the New Weather system, meaning they create their own sun, moon, sky patterns, etc. There are very specific rules families must follow and for the most part, everyone on the island follows them perfectly, making for a pretty happy society.

Unfortunately, once Honor's family gets settled in, she learns her parents are Unpredictable. They do not like to follow the rules and violate laws constantly. They won't pray to the Earth Mother and do not believe in her principals. Due to their indiscretions, Honor does not fit in with all the other children at school and feels she will do anything to change her outcast status. She begins to be the model Island 365 citizen and contemplates reporting her parents for not following rules. After an unspeakable tragedy falls on Honor, her only friend, Helix, lets her in on a secret he discovered and Honor begins a quest to make things right in her new world.

Most of us bloggers have a small place in our hearts for books on dystopian societies and believe me, with this one, you will not be disappointed in the least. It's fast paced, the characters are realistic and likable, and by the end you will be cheering Honor on wholeheartedly! A very impressive work!
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