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X Isle    by Steve Augarde order for
X Isle
by Steve Augarde
Order:  USA  Can
David Fickling Books, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

X Isle is Lord of the Flies for a new generation. That is the best way I can describe Steve Augarde's novel of a dystopian, not-so-distant future. This is a tale of perseverance that will stay with you for a long time.

After hurricanes flood the world, those left have little with which to survive. Many will do whatever it takes to get food. One of the least vile ways to live is to trade with the Eck brothers, salvage divers who live on X Isle and come to the mainland a few times a week to trade canned goods. They also take small boys to work on the island. Many pre-teen boys vie for a chance to go to X Isle, where it is rumored you are fed every day and live what seems to be a life of luxury.

When Baz is lucky enough to be chosen, he learns how false these rumors are. Life on X Isle is harder than anyone imagined. Yes, the boys do get food every day (one can each), a dry bed to sleep in, and a semblance of running water, but the work is back-breaking and the supervisors are dreadful. Two older boys oversee the younger ones and do whatever they can to bring morale down, but the head of the Eck family, Preacher John, is by far the worst. Since the flood, Preacher John (not a real preacher) has become deeply religious and believes that sacrifices must be made in order for the water to recede. To stop him, Baz and his new friends must do the unthinkable.

X Isle is by far the most intense YA novel I have ever read. Augarde has written a real page turner that will keep you up late into the night, wondering what is to be the fate of Baz and the other boys on X Isle. Aside from having a gripping storyline and a sympathetic main character, X Isle is also very well-crafted. Each event leads to a new plot twist, complete with unimaginable perils that will continue to haunt you long after putting the book down.

X Isle is a gripping, frantic read that begs to be discussed after the last page is turned. Steve Augarde has a skill rarely seen in YA fiction and his book simply must be read by young and old alike.

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