The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
|The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Amy Etherington|
|Summary: A delightful and stunning story which follows a young girl torn away from her home and her determination to return back to her sick mother. This is a brilliant second novel which carries the same magic and emotion as the author's debut.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: May 2017|
|Publisher: Chicken House|
|External links: Author's website|
Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2017
Longlisted for the 2018 CILIP Carnegie Medal
Set in the Philippines at the beginning of the last century, Ami lives with her mother on Culion Island. It's a beautiful place covered in lush forests and surrounded by a blue sea that matches the sky. It's Ami's home and the only place she has ever known. But Culion is an island for people with leprosy who are sent there to live on the edge of the world away from civilisation. Ami's mother is among the infected but Ami herself remains untouched, so when government official Mr Zamora arrives to transport the islanders who are free from the sickness to another island, Ami's world is torn apart. Banished across the sea to an orphanage, Ami is determined to get back home and crosses great lengths to return to her sick mother once more, on the island at the end of everything.
This story was simply stunning. I don't know how I can describe it in many more words. I was swept up in Ami's narrative from the first page and I stayed engrossed until the very last page. Having read Millwood Hargrave's debut novel The Girl of Ink and Stars last year, I already knew I was going to enjoy her newest release if it possessed half as much magic as its predecessor. So beautiful was the story I read it in near enough one sitting.
This is easily one of the most impressive children's books I've read for a long time. I believe that if adult readers can find joy in a world marketed for young booklovers, then the author has succeeded in writing a book that stands out from the rest. I enjoyed the characters in this story immensely and the relationship between Ami and her mother was so raw and touching it was pulling on my heartstrings by the end. Yet what I loved most about the story above all else was the themes that flowed throughout. Children's fiction doesn't have to be simple and one-dimensional, and the author proves this by exploring how damaging prejudice can be and how wrong it is to judge others by their appearance. Kiran Millwood Hargrave's writing creates a world that is so real yet so gloriously magical you can't help feeling anything but raw emotion for her characters.
The use of Filipino words and phrases throughout was something I was especially glad the author decided to include. It gave the story a sense of truth and helped me transport to the setting of the novel. Culion Island is indeed a real place and it was turned in to a leprosarium in 1906, becoming known as 'the island of no return'. Millwood Hargrave has managed to create a beautiful story from a sad history which I think will be loved by readers of all ages. Many thanks to the publishers for providing The Bookbag with a copy.
If this book sounds like it may interest you, then I'd highly recommend checking out The Girl of Ink and Stars, which is her equally beautiful debut novel.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave at Amazon.com.
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