3 out of 4 stars
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Island Games: Mystery of the Four Quadrants is a story about two young boys who wake up on a deserted island with no memory of how they got there. Intriguing right? What's even more intriguing is that the author, Caleb J. Boyer, wrote this book when he was only 12 years old.
The story starts with best friends Matthew and Ryan waking up on the beach, and the last thing they remember is playing video games at Ryan's house. They have no recollection of anything else and must find a way to get off this island and back to their families. The boys go through a series of trials and tribulations that test their strength, perseverance, and friendship. Island Games reminds me a lot of The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner. The island is made up of four different quadrants that force Matthew and Ryan to face life-threatening challenges.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. People of all ages would be able to enjoy it but I think it would mostly appeal to preteens and young teens who are fans of fast-paced adventure books. I find the themes of friendship and overcoming adversity very inspiring, and also very important lessons for the younger generation. As the author writes, "bad things can happen and, oftentimes, to really good people. It's really about how you face those challenges." That's what I liked most about the book. The boys are constantly facing these crazy challenges but they always find a way to overcome them together. The author emphasizes that without each other, neither Matthew nor Ryan would have been able to survive. I was pleased to discover in the "Message From The Author" that the island games are a metaphor for the game of life. At twelve years old, the author shows a great deal of talent and potential with their first book. I was very impressed when I read Boyer's bio and learned that he was inspired to write Island Games by his own life circumstances.
The book ends with a huge cliff hanger and while I understood why the author chose to do this, it left me a bit frustrated. I enjoyed reading this book but I believe that the author has room to improve. There were quite a few run-on sentences and unnecessary repetition. I also noticed that the words "difficult" and "officially" were always misspelled. Due to this, I rate it 3 out of 4 stars.
Island Games is appropriate for all ages as there is no profanity or sexual content in the book. I would definitely recommend parents to get a copy for their children to help them learn about overcoming adversity.
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