by S. A. Bodeen
Feiwel and Friends, 2014. 184 pgs. Fiction
Shipwreck Island starts out like a normal--even predictable--adventure story. Twelve year old Sarah's father has remarried after the death of Sarah's mother, and the new family (two boys) are taking an island cruise to try to blend into a loving group. Things go quickly wrong, as the luxury yacht they were supposed to sail on turns out to be a rusted out junker, and when the captain dies in a storm, the family is washed up on the shore of a beautiful island, and they make camp and wait to be rescued. But when they begin looking for fresh water, things get abruptly very weird. They find an empty house built from oak(!). Marco, the twelve-year old boy, sees a brilliant red bird that has teeth instead of a beak, and when he opens what appears to be an aged bottle of perfume, a woman's voice cries "Please come back!" Things get even stranger from there, and the good news and bad news is that Shipwreck Island is a fine story and the first in a series, but it ends so abruptly you feel like you've stepped off a step you didn't know was there. Hopefully in succeeding volumes Sarah will grow up a bit. In this book she occasionally rises to the occasion, but is mostly a sulky, whiny crybaby. Her new stepbrothers, Marco, who is her age, and Ignacio (Nacho) who is four years younger, are vastly more mature. On the whole, an excellent adventure/fantasy that should appeal to youngsters who like a tingle or two of fear in their narratives.