Tween Tuesday

Scar Island By Dan Gemeinhart

Read By Macleod Andrews

Summary From Goodreads:

Scar IslandJonathan Grisby is the newest arrival at the Slabhenge Reformatory School for Troubled Boys — an ancient, crumbling fortress of gray stone rising up from the ocean. It is dark, damp, and dismal. And it is just the place Jonathan figures he deserves.

Because Jonathan has done something terrible. And he’s willing to accept whatever punishment he has coming.

Just as he’s getting used to his new situation, however, a freak accident leaves the troubled boys of Slabhenge without any adult supervision. Suddenly the kids are free, with an entire island to themselves. But freedom brings unexpected danger. And if Jonathan can’t come to terms with the sins of his past and lead his new friends to safety . . . then every boy on the island is doomed. 

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This is the third book that I have read by Dan and it is so different from the other two that I had to remind myself that it was the same author.  This is one is very dark and has some disturbing images that I would not recommend it to anyone under 11.  But for the older tweens and teens it is a great read.

Jonathan is a great character.  He is very much torn about what has happened to him and his belief that he deserves to be at Slabhenge.  No one deserves that punishment.  He isn’t at Slabhenge for long before the adults all die in a horrible freak accident, none of them are very nice, so don’t feel to bad about it.  Jonathan doesn’t want to go home and face his parents do he convinces the others to just stay and take care of themselves.  Jonathan has the potential to be the leader of these boys, but defers to the group bully mostly because he feels that he doesn’t deserve it.  What happens is most people’s worst nightmare.

The other boys who make up the group, are all typical tweens and young teens.  I don’t think there is anyone over 15.  Most of them just want to be left alone, and when the adults are gone, some want to go home. Sebastian, the bully who takes over the group, is not a nice person, but once you learn about his past it is easy to feel sympathy for him.  Colin, the one boy who becomes friends with Jonathan is the lone voice of reason, almost overturning Sebastian’s dictatorship.   

The island setting is perfect for this story.  It could be almost anywhere, but I got the feeling that it was off the coast of Maine.  Slabhenge itself, is an amazingly dark and gloomy place that has a maze like quality to it.  There are lots of things that are hidden in the maze, some good, many bad.  Jonathan spends much of his time discovering the islands secrets, which is what saves everyone in the end. 

This is a very dark and depressing book.  The ending is a little uplifting but a little bit open ended as well. It is definitely a must read for the older tween and teens who like dark and dangerous reads with good characters and a spooky setting. 


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