About the Book
Author: Patrick Hodges
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Number of Pages: 301
Synopsis: Joshua is small for his age. He has been bullied relentlessly for years, and all of his friends have drifted away from him. Eve is a pretty girl who has just been recruited into the popular clique. The two couldn't be more different.
As they begin their final year of middle school, the unlikely pair find themselves partners in Science class. At first reluctant to work with him, Eve soon discovers hidden truths about not only Joshua but their school that turn her world upside-down.
The two form a relationship that will teach them both the true meaning of friendship, loyalty, and love... a relationship that will end up changing not only their lives, but the entire complexion of their school.
Joshua is entering 8th grade and the growth spurt he hoped for over summer didn't happen, but he only has to survive one more year, right? Easier said than done, with his tormentors lurking around every corner and their ring leader, Rhonda calling the shots. Joshua has suffered at the hands of these bullies since 5th grade and what started out as name calling and rumors has escalated into violent beatings. Joshua has never felt more alone, people who used to be his friends no longer acknowledge his existence and it takes everything in him just to survive.
Eve is also entering 8th grade and wants nothing more than to be part of the popular crowd. She gets that chance when Rhonda invites her to be her "friend," but the opportunity comes with a price. Eve must dress how Rhonda says, hang out with those who Rhonda approves, and cut all ties with her current best friends. But, when popularity turns Eve into someone she herself comes to despise she begins to rethink her choices. Furious, Rhonda banishes Eve and threatens the entire student body with dire consequences if anyone so much as talks to Eve. Feeling the bully's wrath, Eve is broken.
A principal who turns a blind-eye to the bullying leaves Joshua and Eve feeling even more defeated and alone. The two become close friends and develop an unbreakable bond which eventually leads to a romantic relationship. However, Rhonda will stop at nothing to show her supreme hold over the school. Will Joshua be able to endure what she has planned?
This is an excellent story and the author does a remarkable job addressing such a difficult subject. I like how the story is told from both Joshua's and Eve's perspectives as it gives readers a more in depth look at their personal journeys. The characters are complex and well developed, each undergoing drastic changes as the novel progresses.
The main characters range between 5th and 8th grade but, I felt Joshua's Island was geared towards young adult readers. The romantic relationship for one and the language for another lead me to this decision. Yes, I know middle schoolers have boyfriends/girlfriends, however many adults still struggle to acheive a relationship as mature as Joshua's and Eve's. I also realize some kids use profanity, but I felt those two aspects alone created a book for older readers. Don't get me wrong, I was absolutely taken with the novel and was compelled to keep reading, finishing it in just one day. In my personal opinion I would allow my high schoolers to read this book, but not my middle schooler.
That said, the writing is exceptional and the story is both poignant and inspiring. I love how the author instills that it only takes one person to change the course of events for many. I highly recommend picking up a copy. Available on Amazon.