I have to admit I haven’t read many Y.A. titles of late, the last being Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, but when this arrived in my eReader the (Jason Gurley designed) cover got my attention (sorry I do sometimes judge a book by it’s cover, or at least bump it up on my reading list!)
Atlantic Island begins with a group of teenagers on a break in Atlantic City who shortly after arriving are caught up in an unknown catastrophe which leaves a huge chunk of the city mysteriously transported as an island to a seemingly unknown location. Once the survivors come to terms with their situation, politicians take control, tasked not only with finding out what happened but planning for the future.
However the internal struggle within their leadership is allowing a maniacal force to push for control, forcing the group, led by seventeen year old Theo Essex to fight not only for their own survival but for the freedom of every survivor left.
The story is fast-paced and thankfully Shernoff wastes no time allowing the characters to be thrust into their impossible situation before developing them, and it’s interesting to see how they initially adapt to their circumstances, given their age. To some extent we don’t really need to know what they were like before The Event (as the incident is referred to) as they now have a clean slate and just need to concentrate on survival but as in most disaster situations, not everyone makes the best use of this opportunity.
Once the power struggle escalates on the island, Theo finds himself the unwilling leader of his group and much of the story is focused on both his struggle to accept his role and his determination to embrace it once he does accept it.
There are definite coming-of-age elements to the story but instead of a bunch of whiny Glee teenagers we get a pretty grounded bunch making the best of their situation (and not singing about it every five minutes!) and as the events unfold to the riveting conclusion we see the bonds of their initial friendship strain through some pretty scary events and some canny plot twists nicely topped off with a sweet cliffhanger leaving the reader both shocked and curious for more.
Overall it’s a gripping story and while it’s easy to spot the influences it defiantly stands on it’s own two feet as an action-packed and entertaining addition to the Y.A. genre.
Now available on Amazon Kindle