A group of basketball players and cheerleaders crash on a deserted island on their way home from an away game. The teammates work together to find a way to survive with little food and water, by searching the island, fishing, hunting and gathering what they can from the wreck. When strange events start happening to each of the surviving teens, that could appear as though they are just accidents, the group begins to turn on each other. Unsure if the accidents are just that, or one of the survivors trying to kill off the rest of them.
The plot moves at a quick pace keeping the reader continually guessing as to whether the accidents are just that, or something more sinister. The characters start as one dimensional but by the end there is some depth to a few of them which help to keep the reader engaged. The survivor story is always a win with readers who like to be on their toes.
Readers who enjoy survivor stories with unreliable characters and never a dull moment should pick this up. For more survival stories and possible backstabbing try A Map for Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor andBe Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis.
Other Nominated Titles
The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.
Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.
Though it might be a bit unsettling, there are undoubtedly teens who see all the hurt and disruption in the world today and turn to dystopian futures or post-apocalyptic tales as the remedy. With those readers in mind, here is a list of titles that dive into the dark realities of an uncertain future.
A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C. A. Fletcher
This 2020 Alex Award winner holds more than a few surprises, and it is a great title to suggest to the reader who has already worked through the more common dystopian titles. Griz is a finely-drawn and fully-complex character who teens will connect with, and the hunt for loyal dog Jess will keep them turning pages until the unexpected and remarkable ending.
Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
This book. It haunts me. Set in the early 2020s, but written in the early 1990s, it is a prescient and terrifying look at the kind of chaos and social disorder that could descend upon us. Climate change has led to massive water outages, and safety is dependent upon avoiding the mobs bent upon destruction. 15-year-old Lauren is wise beyond her years, but she is an ideal guide through this world and into a possible future.