Friday, January 13, 2017

"Scar Island" by Dan Gemeinhart

Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart, my favorite children’s author, is about boys at Slabhenge Reformatory School for troubled boys located on an island and run with torture techniques. Jonathan is the new boy sentenced to 10 weeks which is longer than usual because of the bad thing he did. Jonathan is overwhelmed with feelings of guilt and believes he deserves to be there, unlike the others. A couple boys befriend him and eventually he even wins over the bully who bosses everyone around when all the grownups running the place meet an unfortunate death.

This book is dark but not as dark as Lord of the Flies although there are some similarities. I liked this book because of the exploration of group dynamics, the interaction and growth among the boys, and also because of the suspense. I even got to like that huge rat that Jonathan mistook for a cat. Jonathan is a great character who I admired because he was so kind and compassionate throughout the book. I would recommend this book to boys, but don’t think too many girls would enjoy it since there are no girls in it. I liked both this author’s other books better: The Honest Truth and Some Kind of Courage, because they seemed more believable and not as dark as this one.

SPOILER ALERT – STOP NOW IF YOU INTEND TO READ THIS BOOK. I really liked the librarian and his pet rat. I thought that was a cool surprise and liked how the librarian encouraged Jonathan to take a book every time he came. I was surprised Colin didn’t stay with him when he left the others. There were a few things I felt were farfetched: (1) How all the grownups got electrocuted and died at once; (2) that the boys would put the dead bodies in the freezer where the food would be, yuck!; (3) that the first thing they did wasn’t to all join in to destroy the sinner’s sorrow torture device that they all hated; (4) I didn’t understand why Sebastian got so mad at Colin when he left since at the beginning he announce the boys to go wherever they wanted and do whatever they wanted. When Colin took some chocolates saying they were just Sebastian’s, I was surprised the other boys didn’t back him up and (5) how the majority just followed whatever Sebastian said, letting him take the lead instead of following Colin or Jonathan, who were smarter and nicer, especially at the end.
(Karen’s review, 4 stars)

Gerard read this first 1-9-17, here's his review, 4.5 stars:
In Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart, Jonathan is the new boy at Slabhenge.  It is a reform school for boys who are troubled to say the least.  Now Jonathan is there and he is happy to be there.  But soon he will have to make decisions that will affect him and his fellow boys.

I really enjoyed the characters in this book.  It has good action and the end has a good twist.  I liked this author's first two books better, The Honest Truth and Some Kind of Courage, but this one is not bad at all!

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!

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