There’s one small spoiler and one bigger spoiler. The smaller spoiler is in a larger paragraph which isn’t entirely about that spoiler, and it’s enough of the review that I don’t want to just mark it, because there’s so much you would have to skip. The bigger spoiler is in a paragraph all its own, it is marked. However, I would recommend going into this book not knowing too much about it, so if you haven’t read this book I would suggest not reading my review. However, if you haven’t read this book and still want to read this review, go for it.
I don’t want to say that I didn’t expect to like this book. I didn’t expect to dislike it, I just didn’t expect to like it as much as I did.
This book is surprisingly funny. I don’t want to be one of those people who says they have a weird sense of humor that not many people get. I’m sure that at times I’m a pretentious hipster (probably mostly about music), but I’m not quite that bad. I’ve been watching stand-up comedy since I was twelve, so I have high standards for what I find funny. I had heard that this book was funny. I didn’t think that I wouldn’t find it funny, I just didn’t expect to actually laugh.
I loved that this book, even though it was more serious and dark in some places-like when they find they burned body of the dead flight attendant-it still managed to be funny without it being really forced. I’ve read some books where the humor is ridiculous, forced, and there just to make the book funny (*cough, cough* any book by Rick Riordan *cough, cough*), but this was not one of them.
Before I go on with the rest of the review, I want to get my one complaint out of the way. This complaint isn’t something that made me lower the rating, or made me put the book down, or made me angrily text someone to rant about it. It just bothered me.
In the book, there’s a character named Adina. Adina doesn’t like pageants and is only doing this pageant because her mom agreed to get her a bass for her all girl punk band if she did this. She also wants to destroy the pageant from the inside. I like Adina. She isn’t boy crazy or obsessed with her looks. She plays bass in an all girl punk band! Finally a bassist in a book who isn’t a murderer or a socially awkward loser! (If you’re unfamiliar with my underappreciated bassist rant, check out my review for The Rules. I’ll link it at the end of this review.) Anyway, I really liked Adina. And then the pirates showed up on the island. I have no complaints about the pirates showing up. It worked with the story. There’s literally no way that the story could have gone the way it did if the pirates didn’t show up. My complaint isn’t about the pirates’ existence, or something like that, it’s about Adina falling for one of them. Up until this point in the story, she didn’t need a man. She was an independant woman. And then this *dreamy* pirate shows up and she gets a little bit drunk and then she sleeps with him. What?
After she sleeps with him AND THEN FIGURES OUT THAT HE FILMED IT WITHOUT HER KNOWLEDGE (which is a whole level of unacceptable that I’m not going to go into), she realizes that she really doesn’t need a man, that she’s perfectly fine on her own, which I thought was something she knew all along but apparently not. I really, really wish that she didn’t have any romantic interest in the book at all. Almost every book I read has something about a relationship, and I don’t like it. Not every teenager wants to have a relationship when they’re a teenager. I fully expect that I’m going to date someone at some point, but I have no interest in dating someone now. I do find some people attractive, and if they happened to ask me to go on a date with them, I would. But I would never ask them out on a date, and if they didn’t ask me out on a date, I wouldn’t be upset. I have books to read and songs to write. I don’t have time for dating. I thought that maybe Adina would be the young adult character I’ve been waiting for. The character who doesn’t have or want a relationship at any point in the book because her life is full and fulfilling without it. But that wasn’t the case. I still think she’s a good character. I’m still glad that, for once, there’s a bassist who isn’t a freak. But I’m not happy about how the whole relationship thing was handled.
One more small complaint. I couldn’t keep track of all of the girls. Sometimes they were called their names, and sometimes they were called Miss whatever-state-they-came-from. I only realized how confused I was towards the end, and it was really weird to suddenly realize that there are least three more girls on the island than I had realized. It’s possible that, since I read this book mostly late at night, I was too tired to pay enough attention. But whatever. I’m not really upset about this. It’s just a thing.
Now that that’s out of the way, I can list all of the good things about this book.
If you like to read books because of their diversity, you should read this book. There’s a trans girl, a lesbian, a girl whose sexuality is never labelled but who isn’t straight, a black girl, and a girl from India. I’ve read some other books where a character will be something other than a straight, white character, and they won’t have any development other than the fact that they’re not straight or white. But these characters weren’t straight or white, and they were also really well developed and interesting.
I heard in someone else’s review that there were commercial breaks in this book. I didn’t know how I was going to feel about them because, at the time, that seemed weird. I actually really loved the way the commercial breaks were done. It gave you information you would need to know later without having information dumps. Some of the information they gave you would be stuff that the girls on the island wouldn’t know, so it just made more sense to get the information through the commercial breaks instead of through weird bits of narration.
I was a little worried about this book because the person who recommended it to me said it sounded like Lord of the Flies. I’ve read Lord of the Flies, and I cried hysterically. Even though this obviously shares similarities with Lord of the Flies, it’s not really like it. There is a part in the book where one of the characters says something about Lord of the Flies, but I read this book a month and a half ago, and I don’t remember what the context of the quote was. This book isn’t really as realistic as Lord of the Flies, but that’s not a bad thing. I didn’t go into this book looking for some incredibly realistic book, and there isn’t a huge suspension of disbelief. Honestly, I don’t think I’m ready for another Lord of the Flies yet.
When I read this book, I had not yet read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and now, looking back on it, some aspects of this book remind me of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Specifically, the bit at the end about the power point presentation. I don’t want to spoil anything because you need to go into it not knowing the ending, but THE BIT ABOUT THE POWER POINT PRESENTATION.
SPOILER One of the parts that I really, really liked was that Taylor was left behind on the island. It’s not entirely a happy ending. She went completely insane and was left on an uninhabited island. Who knows what happened to her. Everyone being safe, alive, and sane in the end would be unrealistic. END SPOILER
I also like the last chapter with stuff about what happened after they got off the island. It was done in a way that didn’t feel like an information dump at all.
If you’re interested in reading my bassist rant, here’s the link to the review: https://haphazardlyreading.wordpress.com/2017/03/23/the-rules-by-nancy-holder-and-debbie-viguie/