The Lost Island of Tamarind by Nadia Aguiar

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The Lost Island of Tamarind by Nadia Aguiar

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Hannah Crookes
Reviewed by Hannah Crookes
Summary: A fun adventure following three children shipwrecked on a mysterious island. It addresses bigger issues of war and peace while still being light-hearted and engaging.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: January 2009
Publisher: Puffin
ISBN: 978-0141323862

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Thirteen-year-old Maya has spent her whole life sailing on board the Pamela Jane with her brother Simon, baby sister Penny, and marine biologist parents. She begins to long for a normal life on land with friends, school and privacy. As they are sailing towards her grandmother's house in Bermuda, the boat gets caught in a terrible storm. Their parents are washed away and the children find themselves run aground on an unknown island. They soon realise that their parents have been hiding something from them. What are the strange drawings in the logbook? And what is the Red Coral project? Determined to find their parents, the children set out to find help, but they soon realise that this is no ordinary island. Plants move, pirates rule the seas and war has torn the island apart. They enlist the help of a number of new friends in their quest to find their parents, falling into many adventures along the way.

Most of this book revolves around the journey across Tamarind that the children make to find their parents. There are plenty of adventures, some of which seem more necessary than others. The more of Tamarind they see, the more they realise that it is still suffering from the ravages of war. As their journey progresses, the children become more involved in the new world that they have found themselves in.

Something of this book reminded me of Peter Pan. Tamarind and Neverland have a similar magical feeling. The tropical island is so beautifully and realistically described yet giants, mermaids and intelligent parrots are integrated into the tale. The island itself is just as important a character as any of the children; it is dangerous but it promises adventure and the audience ultimately want to see it achieve complete peace. The author's love for and personal knowledge of the tropics is indicated by the stunning visual descriptions present throughout the book.

The children themselves were realistically portrayed, although Maya often annoyed me as far too stubborn and reluctant to trust people. The younger brother Simon occasionally acted far older than his nine years, but the relationship between the siblings, sometimes bickering and sometimes cooperative, was completely believable.

Tamarind focuses on bringing back together a family that didn't even realise it was drifting apart, and healing a land that has been suffering from the after-effects of a long war. This is why I enjoyed the book as much as I did – it wasn't about trying to save the world or even solve all of the problems the characters face. It focused on the journey, the choices, good and bad, that the children make, and somehow as they go on this journey the problems seem to slip away. Each of the main characters grew and changed throughout the book, just as life really does change people. I hate to call it a 'coming of age tale' as it is so much more than that, more a realistic portrayal of children slowly growing up.

I liked Tamarind for the characters, for the wonderful setting, but mostly as a good family adventure. Children from about nine upwards should enjoy this one.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this book appeals then we think that you might enjoy Peter Pan and Wendy by J M Barrie and possibly the recently issued Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCaughrean and David Wyatt.

Buy The Lost Island of Tamarind by Nadia Aguiar at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Lost Island of Tamarind by Nadia Aguiar at

Buy The Lost Island of Tamarind by Nadia Aguiar at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Lost Island of Tamarind by Nadia Aguiar at


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