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Monday, August 18, 2014

Review: The Islands at the End of the World by Austin Aslan

Title: The Islands at the End of the World
Author: Austin Aslan
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books/Random House
Pub. Date: August 5, 2014
Genre: Young Adult
Rec. Age Level: 13+
Pages: 384
More by this author: N/A

Goodreads / Buy It

In her heart, sixteen-year old Leilani feels like she belongs in Hawaii, but her epilepsy and mixed heritage prevent her from ever fitting in. When she's is invited to participate in a study in an Oahu clinic that may give her more control over her epilepsy, she decides it's worth the risks. But Leilani never gets the chance to try the new treatment - a global disaster strikes, leaving the Hawaiian islands without any connection to the rest of the world. Leilani and her father are stranded on Oahu where resources are quickly being drained and panic is taking hold. Determined to make it back to their home on Hilo, Leilani and her father embark on a dangerous journey in which Hawaiian culture, mythology, and Leilani's epilepsy all play crucial roles.

Austin Aslan's debut had me completely transfixed. It was cinematic, with all the elements that I love about those big apocalyptic movies, like The Day After Tomorrow,  but still felt fresh and unique because of the Hawaiian setting and undeniably better world building and detail. Simply put, this book has the fast pacing and crazy what ifs you love about those end-of-the-world movies plus a compelling back story and well developed characters.

One of my favorite aspects of this book was the focus on the father-daughter relationship. The list of notable - or even memorable - literary YA parents is woefully short, so I count every addition as a win. Leilani's father isn't perfect but that just made him more realistic. He makes some interesting parenting choices after things get crazy (which, for the record, I was totally okay with and rather amused by). He and Leilani have a strong relationship built on respect and trust, which I loved.

I highly recommend Aslan's debut and am very much looking forward to seeing what happens next... I have a feeling that the situation has the potential to get a lot more complicated in the next book!


  1. This sounds so good! I'd never heard of it before. I just watched Day After Tomorrow a couple weeks ago and also love anything like it! Thanks for sharing :)

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

  2. This looks absolutely cracking! Thanks for the heads up!

  3. That seem like a wonderful book! Even if middle grade books aren't usually my thing, I think that I could give this one a try.

  4. The moment I saw this one as another blog's WOW, I was quite intrigued by it and if you say it is one of those no age limit novels and the talk about different time periods and different kind of maps... It just sounds fantastic! I'm gonna move it from wish list to TBR list for sure!

  5. The cover IS amazing. I don't know if you've ever seen it in person, but the jacket is kind of translucent, so you can see the images on the cover beneath. It is so cool looking!

  6. If you're going to try a MG book, I'd try this one! It's 10+, which means it's closer to YA, plus the world building is fantastic!

  7. I hope you find time to read it! :)

  8. I knew next to nothing about this book and now I'm seeing it everywhere and it's getting the best reviews. I rarely read MG anymore, but your last statement might make me make an exception for this one. Thanks for sharing!

  9. This is the first time I've seen this book and I love it!!! Great cover and it sounds so intriguing. Adding it to my TBR pile now.

  10. I neverrr read MG, but I also ADOOOOORE maps and any books having to do with maps... I really need to read this book!!

  11. I was salivating over this book when I saw its cover before it came out! Now it's out and I still need to read it. I heard the author speak at the Boston Book Festival and really liked her. I can't wait to read this book, but yet, I know I'm going to be wanting Book 2 right away!! The suspense!! The premise sounds amazing, and I love all things map related.

  12. If you love everything map-related, you should check out Carrie Ryan's newest, THE MAP TO EVERYWHERE, which she wrote with her husband, John Parke Davis. It's also MG and centers around reassembling a magical map! I loved it!


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