SHIPWRECK ISLAND for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

I was strolling through the bookstore last month with gift card in hand. I’d already found one title and had enough left to grab one more. On the new releases shelf was SHIPWRECK ISLAND beckoning me. Looked intriguing. I read the inside51-k20Rj0LL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ book jacket and got pulled in more: A contemporary story about a newly formed blended family taking a vacation to get to know each other. I held on to it tightly and headed to checkout.

A week later after getting about 75% through the book, the light bulb appeared… there were too many story lines to be resolved in the remaining pages. I’d been tricked. There’s not one word in the book or book jacket that this the first in a series. I only found that out by going to the author’s website. I quickly read the remaining pages and sure enough, not a single plot point was resolved. It was all set-up. Should have done my research.

Okay, enough ranting. I did enjoy the adventure, but I’m not sure I would invest any more time by reading future volumes. The two main characters (12-year-old  Sarah and Marco) were not memorable enough to warrant more of my attention. But… you never know. I said the same thing about a similar ship wreck/island series from Gordon Korman back in 2001. Sometimes the pull to know the ending is enough to keep you reading through multiple volumes.


FULL PLOT (From Amazon):

Sarah Robinson is deeply troubled in the wake of her dad’s second marriage. She now has to deal with a new stepmom and two stepbrothers, Marco, who is her age, and Nacho, who’s younger. Even though they’ve all moved from Texas to California to start life as a new, blended family, none of the kids seem remotely happy about it. Sarah’s dad and stepmom then decide to take the whole family on a special vacation in order to break the ice and have everyone get to know one another. They’ll fly to Tahiti, charter a boat, and go sailing for a few days. It’ll be an adventure, right?Wrong. Dead wrong.


  1. Nacho. Ten-year-old little brother. He’s a minor character who provides more insights and help to the dire situation than anyone else. I can see him taking a bigger role in future books.
  2. The third person POV alternated between Sarah and Marcos. It was good reading to listen to their different insights and what they thought of each other in their inner thoughts.
  3. If you want a guide about poor decision making by an adult, look no further than the dad. Some of his actions were laughable and far from being safe.
  4. The first part of the book while the family was on the ship is thrilling and I couldn’t wait to read the next chapter.
  5. If you loved SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON or more recently on the airwaves, LOST, then this one will be one to follow. You’ll just have to wait awhile before the whole story is available.


…Sarah found herself sitting on her floor beside her bed, wishing she could do something about the fact that she was about to embark on a trip with the new family she wanted nothing whatsoever to do with. And she was furious because she knew there was absolutely nothing she could do to keep it from happening.


Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.


About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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6 Responses to SHIPWRECK ISLAND for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

  1. Not sure about this one. Having a book just be a set up doesn’t sound so good. Thanks for letting us know.

  2. Janet Smart says:

    The adventure part does sound good. But, I like it when loose ends are all tied up in the end of a novel. I don’t like to be left hanging.

  3. salarsen says:

    I have to admit that it irritates me a little when I begin a read and found out later it’s part of a series/sequel – ‘I’ll have to keep reading…’ Sometimes it’s a pleasant surprise, but still I like to know.

  4. Thanks for the warning. I don’t appreciate books that don’t resolve and leave me hanging without knowing ahead of time. I don’t read a lot of series. I just don’t have time, so I think it’s only fair to let me know if that’s what I’m getting into.

  5. warrchick says:

    This sounds eerily familiar…some differences, of course, but the set up sounds a lot like the ‘let’s get shipwrecked so we can blend our family’ premise in Jeff probst’s Stranded. Nothing new under the sun, eh? Thanks for the feature, and happy MMGM!

  6. jennienzor says:

    I do like survival stories a lot, and the blended family issues sound interesting. I do enjoy sequels, if I really like the first book, but I like most of the plot points to be tied up. Thanks for the heads-up about that.

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